• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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What The Water Gave Me

Frida is in the bath again. She’ll be in there for hours now and I’ll have to go out and piss in the yard but there’s no talking to her. What she does in there I’ll never know but experience has taught me there’s no use in trying to politely suggest that she’ll catch her death or shrivel to a prune or that monopolising a small dwelling’s single bathroom might not be the done thing.

She’s always been eccentric, though. The first time I met her she was wandering naked and alone along a particularly inhospitable stretch of wintry northern coastline, searching furiously behind every rock and dune. She’s never told me exactly what she was looking for, but you’d have to assume clothing of some kind was high on the agenda.

Anyway, nobody else was out because there was a gale blowing but I like that beach best in wild weather. I’m from a long line of fishermen and while that business had well and truly run aground, so to speak, by the time I was of age, there’s nostalgia for the ocean in my veins all the same. When the wind whips up I always go down to fooster around on the strand like I might take to the sea any minute.

She gave me no notice that day but I tell you, I gave her plenty. Sense returning, I remembered I had an old blanket in the car and that this young one in nothing but her pelt was on the verge of freezing solid. So I went and got it, shook off some of the less tenacious lint, and brought it down to offer it to her, by this point making a show of trying to avert my eyes. I was fairly sure she was on drugs, but she took the blanket anyway and wrapped it awkwardly around herself, suddenly furtive.


What The Water Gave Me

She allowed me to guide her to the car, and when she wouldn’t answer any of my questions about where she was from or going or who she belonged to, I turned the key in the ignition and drove her the short spin up to my house.

There, I gave her tea and dinner and the spare room and well, she hasn’t left. I’ve asked around locally and nobody seems to know her, so we’ve settled into a fairly okay routine, she and me—aside from the bath hogging, of course.

Frida’s not the first strangeness I’ve encountered down on that beach—I have an old chest out in the shed full of all my favourite finds, the gem of which is a pristine sealskin I stumbled across the day before I met Frida. I don’t know what to do aside from look at it from time to time really, because well, what does anyone do with a seal pelt unless you’re a seal?

So it’ll stay in there and she’ll stay in the bath and I’ll go out and piss in the yard.