The sand golden – coloured by the rising sun. Recently combed by a machine ready for the next set of sun worshipers. Long shadows from the thatched sunbrellas proving I was up early. Plastic heavy duty sunbeds stacked purposefully in batches. The metal shutters still down on the seafront Spanish shops and a gentle lapping of waves barely breaking the morning serenity apart from the small cafe on the small rocky land sat next to the sand. The sound of clanking porcelain cups and the rattle of spoons with the steam gushing from an espresso machine with the lone server setting up for the day before the chairs and bar stools are filled by slow drinking horizon watchers.
She pulled chairs and tables out on to the surrounding cafe patio that tapered to the rocks, sand and sea water. A colourful tattoos draped, tastefully, from her shoulder and down her arm. There were little other people, other than the joggers that were the only other bravest to wake to see the sun rise above the hilly coastline, where most tourists were still in bed sleeping off the drink of the night before and the most energy they would exert that morning would be the panic to get to the hotel breakfast room before they shut at ten and, with heavy eyelids, downing buckets of tea and coffee.
I stood looking at the sea in the warm air, a loose t-shirt and running shorts taking in every breath of salty ozone-rich air that I could while I had the chance. It was one of those moments when I thought this could be my life or more accurately, this could be my routine. It was one of those millionaire moments when you can imagine what you’d do if you’d won the lottery or something of equally obscene payout but the fact was, I didn’t need to be horrendously rich. The only thing that stopped me is the hesitation of risk, commitment and trepidation.
I had sat in that cafe on the rock by the sea as many times as I could that holiday and I had taken a few mornings for a walk or run, or whatever I energy I could find, to relive that half hour or so by the sea when it was serene on that island in the Atlantic. Some people might not aspire to being a waitress or barista at a cafe but at that moment, when I saw that woman serving by the sea I could see an idyllic life. Up early setting up shop before the customers came. A slow pace of life serving treacle-thick coffee and simple toasted sandwiches under the sun providing serenity to those who take a fortnight out of the manic complexity of life in the ‘first world’. It wouldn’t pay much and life would become material-less. Would that really matter? I had bought things throughout my life, objects that were ‘dream’ objects but since having done that I have found I am left with a different outlook on life. While money will always be a need, personal riches now lie elsewhere.
May be life behind the counter would change the magic, may be not. May be the dream is the place and the dream job of writing for a living could be done from the cafe by the sea – adding to the fulfilment.
I have found that I am now looking at the gap between what is my life right now and another life that I could live just like being a waitress at a cafe in the sun. In the last few years I have already rejected much of the career goal oriented life. I had taken time-out from work after saving for months on end to re-evaluate what I actually want. It’s not just down to the gender thing, that is just a part of my life and if that comes with me on my trip to changing the way I live then so be it. That said it is still a big part of who I could be if I were to find that serene way of life that I desire.
I am comfortable in my home, don’t get me wrong, I like where I live. I can drive to a beach early in the morning if I wished but things aren’t quite that easy. My work can be a little mundane, that is the work I do to keep me going but that I have slowly been trying to leave behind over the last four or five years. The beach is far enough away that to visit before going to work would be unmaintainable. I look out the window now, dull light coming from pure winter grey clouds and a fine constant reliable sheet of misty rain falling, and realise it’s not quite enlightening – comfortable and safe, but not spiritual.
Sure, a life in another land serving coffee isn’t going to service a villa and yoga next to the pool in the mornings but I have to ask myself what is it to feel rich that is beyond money and possessions. So far that appears to be simplicity of whatever I would do for a living in a nice location and the ability to see the serenity of the morning near the sea, regularly, and an expression of my gender at the same time. To me, when I write it like that, it doesn’t seem that unobtainable. If that’s not too hard then may be bringing gender identity to a balanced conclusion isn’t quite so hard after all.
Until next time