I remember taking refuge in sleep. My sleep kept me away from it all. The fear, the cold at night, the hunger at moments. The missing of school, of friends, of my mum. My sleep kept me safe from what ever need or danger there was, physical, in my minds eye. I would simply be asleep. And if sleeping was too scary, I would wake up.
As I woke up, I shivered. It was immensely cold. Where did this come from? I got up a bit and looked out through the gap between the wooden panels at the entrance of the bunker. There was daylight, but it was different somehow. All was very quiet and dim. I shivered again and rubbed myself to warm up a bit. My clothes were damp.
I moved the boards in the entrance to the side a bit. Mist. A wet and still mist had filled up the hollow in the dunes which was right outside the bunker. I moved the board fully out of the way and stepped outside. What time was it? I climbed up the dune and looked over the town. At the other side of the town, a pale disc was rising from the horizon. Gray. White. Tatters of fog in its face, hardly drifting at all. I stretched out my arm. It had risen two hand widths. It was close to half past seven or eight already.
I went down to the beach. It was very chilly out there. You could not see a thing. A thick, leaden grey fog kept all hidden. It was only because of the slope of the beach I knew where to go. I was approaching a sound rather than the sea. Until all of a sudden I was where tiny waves came ashore. I took off my clothes and walked into the water. Freezing it was. And quiet. And unperceptive. I walked to where the water reached my waist. Slowly I crouched down and laid back to the sea floor. The water closed over my face.
I washed and felt how the cold water and the fine grains of sand it picked up in its movement, found every part of my body. It sobered me up real good. Some wind came by and gave life to the mist. The cold got beyond skin deep and my teeth chattered. It was a funny sound out there in that thick fog at the edge of a sea that sizzled through the beach sands.
A bit further up the beach, or maybe in the dunes, I heard a dog bark. A man’s voice called out a name. A couple of seagulls cried in response. I walked back up the slope and out of the sea. It was so quiet I could hear the water dripping from me, from my hands, from my nose, from my buttocks, back down into the sea itself.
I walked a bit up and down the waterline. I searched for my clothes. I was sure I laid them here, right? That fog… Ah, found them. I swept away as much of the water from my skin as I could and got dressed again. Ooh, so cold. I crossed my arms and took hold of my self. Shivering to the cold inside and out.
Then I made my way back to the bunker to put on my shoes and plan the rest of the day. It would be a slow day at the Boulevard. This mist could be here well beyond noon. That would keep away the sunbathers and tourists. Maybe some of the kiosks and candy booths would not even open on a day like this.
I took some candy bars. I tried to keep the noise down of the wrappers moving in my hands and then inside my pocket. I hoped the chocolate would not melt this time. I loved these, the narrow bar, the crisp biscuit inside the chocolate, the caramel. Two of them were a stomach full. They would get me through the day.
The owner of the kiosk, did he know? I often wondered. He saw me coming some mornings, browse through his papers and magazines and other goods. We would smile at each other. He never said anything. Neither did I. And then I never bought anything from him. I would just walk away again. With two candy bars in my pockets that is. Unpaid for. I could not help but think he knew. Maybe this was his way of helping out a bit.