Water’s Edge

3 November 1974

DINNERTIME. He should have been home by now. Sent out to look for for my little brother, I checked out his most likely haunts, asked around, until I found myself tiptoeing on the edge of the Old Pier thinking the worst. The tide was high, only a foot or so from the level of the stonework, the water so vast and grey. From that vantage point, I had a good view of the shoreline in front of the Dunollie Hotel and the Garage, but not a brother in sight. The temperature was dropping fast and my tummy was rumbling. Just as I pondered whether I had done enough to justify going back to the house now, an invisible pair of hands shoved me into the drink.

Feet first, I plunged into the dull ebb. Within seconds, panic had engulfed my senses, eradicating everything I had ever learned from Mrs Weir. The first ascent back to the surface seemed to take an eternity; every attempt to come up for air and scream at the top of my voice only increased the likelihood of being pulled back under. With every gasp, my efforts felt more and more futile.

Matchstick people streamed from around the Garage and the Dunollie. Voices. A loud splash. Then a pair of strong arms taking hold of me and pushing me into the waiting arms of someone else standing by the water’s edge.

I recognised my rescuer straight away. The owner of the Harbour Grill, still in his chef’s whites, had saved my life. By the time I was delivered to my parents, my brother had showed up. After dinner, I was treated like a princess and tucked straight into my parents’ pre-warmed bed.

What a way to start my birthday. Tomorrow I would be six.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2020

Company of Me

MANY people are facing their demons for the first time. Those of us who have had a head start in this department can be thankful that to a degree, we were prepared for the solitude, anxiety and soul-searching that lockdown inevitably entails. I guess this is why so many fight tooth and nail for the right to hang out with the crowd, perhaps not so much because they are selfish but because it is the only way they know how to shut up their inner demons. They are literally afraid of ther own shadow. So much as it is tempting to judge, just remember what’s at the back of it when you see people flagrantly breaching COVID restrictions.

As for confronting your demons, athough it is not without pain, it’s not as bad as you think. Once you get to know them, it can actually be quite satisfying. At least that has been my experience. Think of it as a team-building exercise (Storming, Forming and Norming)!