Susan finished packing her picnic bag and walked out of the kitchen. At the door, she stopped to switch off the light. Her kitchen was usually dimly lit owing to it facing the back of a block of flats so she had to turn on the light even during daytime. Susan placed the door rug inside so that she would not come back to find the stray cats had lain on it then locked the front door and left.
It was a hot afternoon. Usually, Susan would be curled up on the concrete floor of her three-roomed flat reading a novel and dressed only in her underclothes to manage the heat but today she decided to go for a picnic at the beach. It was Thursday and there weren't likely to be many people at the beach as opposed to Saturdays when the beach was a sea of activities. Susan hoped to find the tranquility she yearned for, life had not been easy for her lately. She had suffered a terrible heartbreak after Harry broke up with her and now that she was on leave from work, loneliness ate her.
At the Wilner Drive, traffic was low. She didn't have to wait long to cross the road like days when traffic was high and speeding. She and her neighbours always wished the town council could install traffic lights there. Sometimes when Susan was coming back home after a long day at work, she would grow impatient waiting for traffic to clear so that she crosses to the other side. At such times, all she wished for was to change from the now uncomfortable office wear into something smooth and relaxed then curl up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate, flipping through the tv channels.
Susan quickly crossed to the other side then turned left towards the direction of the sea. At a bend, she saw one of her neighbours and waved to him. He was a young college grad who played loud music on Friday evenings and worked a day's job at a textile factory. He sometimes stopped to talk to Susan on his way back airing his washing. He once told her that while in high school, he had desired to be a lawyer like her but he had later opted for industrial chemistry.
There were only a handful of people at the beach that afternoon. An elderly couple were jogging along the sandy shore and a group of cute probably twelve year old girls were dancing around in a circle and then gleefully jumping into the water whenever waves came by. Susan thought they might probably be a class group as a middle aged woman who appeared to be their teacher was with them. She kept telling everyone to take care.
Susan chose a level spot away from the rest and spread her blanket to sit on. She never intended to swim this afternoon so she hadn't brought along her swim suit. She just wanted to sit down, watch the sea, eat, drink and forget Harry at that particular time. Her floral flowing blue skirt blended well with her silky blouse. She felt soothed as a cool breeze caressed her skin. She made herself comfortable on the blanket then reached for her picnic bag to bring out an ice cream tin.
The atmosphere at the beach was serene. For a moment, Susan found herself not thinking about Harry. She scooped the ice cream and licked it as she gazed far away into the blue waters which shone under the afternoon sunlight. Done with the ice cream, she took out a bowl of pancakes she had made and ate, downing them with apple juice. She saved chicken pie for the last and of course she had more apple juice. This afternoon she just wanted to enjoy herself.
Susan gazed at her wrist watch, two hours had passed since she had arrived at the beach, she had taken a walk along the shore then came back to sit on the blanket and continue watching the sea. Having checked the time, Susan suddenly felt drowsy from the meal and decided to lie down for a siesta. She placed her bag near her head and soon she was asleep on her picnic blanket.
Susan woke up with a start. There was a commotion above her head and she looked up to see a flock of birds flying low in circles. She quickly, rose to her feet, picked her blanket and bag and ran away from that scene. The sky had since paled in hue and it wouldn't be long before dusk sets in.
That evening as Susan pushed open her front door and walked in, she was grateful for a wonderful afternoon at the beach.