Broken Shutter Beach
by Autumn Lily Ober
illustration by Kevin Banks
Rain. Always rain here at Broken Shutter Beach. I’ll just sit here, on the grass, overlooking the water. Not thinking. Just breathing. Thinking is so complicated, it’s like working, only inside your head. Just sit here.
The waves aren’t even waves. Just a big lip of water, pulling IN and OUT. The water here at Broken Shutter Beach is dark grey with green edges, the way the ocean should be. I turn my head and spit. I look back to the water. I can see the letter. Funny, it doesn’t look so much like a letter now that it’s all wet and runny. It looks like wet paper. (Which it is.) Just wet paper.
Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Turn, spit. Inhale. Paper in the corner of my eye.
Standing up with a tingling head, looking at the water, holding the letter, preparing to walk back up the hill. Trying not to think about it.
Broken Shutter House.
I take off all my clothes at the door. It always rains here at Broken Shutter Beach. I get wet a lot, looking out at the water. There’s a pile of stuff here by the door, outside on the porch. My stuff, every bit of it. Even one shoe, no mate, just one Black & White shoe. It’s divorced from its other and married to something red. I don’t know what.
I walk in with just my hat on. I turn on the light and sit down in front of the window. I sit there in my chair and I hold the letter. It dangles from my finger tips. I stare out the window at the sea.
A thought occurs to me. I wonder why I sit outside and get wet dressed when I could sit here and see the same thing only naked and dry. Conclusion: I like being dressed and wet more then naked and dry.
I stop thinking then. Thinking is like working, only in your head.
It gets dark outside my window so I get up off the chair. I turn on the light. I put on The Velvet Underground. I pick up a piece of paper and I take it to the table with me.
I have to answer this letter. I know this. I know why. So I write.
I think I have the solution. You should come to the island.
P.S. Don’t forget, the shutters are all broken. (Always have been.)
Tomorrow I’ll mail it.
One afternoon when I came in from Shutter Beach I had a letter waiting patiently out front. Took it in and sat down in my chair.
Whatever you wrote upset Jasper again. You know how difficult you make things when you upset her.
To what problem have you proposed this solution to (one in letter)? Live out there at Broken Whatever. Write of sleep or whatever you do. But leave Jasper to herself. And June, fix the shutters. For your own good.
“HA! HA!” I say, “Victor’s stupid.” He thinks too much, obviously, he has broken his poet.
I have an overwhelming urge to answer him. I write:
You’re stupid and you have broken your poet.
Maybe you should come with Jasper. To the island. No shutters ever get fixed but a lot of poets do.
I write to Jasper also.
It’s high time some action was taken.
I thought we had it all worked out. I was wrong. Victor is still intercepting everything before it gets to you. I hope you hate that as much as I do.
I’ve been trying my best to stop thinking so that (Victor) will let me off this island. I’m having some real problems with it. Everytime I turn around I’m doing it again. Everytime. EveryTime.
I feel horrible about the box, I really do. I have no idea why they ever let Victor put you in there. I try not to think about what it is you’re supposed to be doing there but that screws everything up on the island because it starts fixing the shutters and everything runs all amuck.
Jesus Christ. I’m thinking again. I can tell.
Listen. Don’t get upset anymore when I write to you. Just concentrate and get the hell out of the box and come to the island ASAP.
P.S. Victor you’re an ass.