Dream Beaches

— Tori McCandless

I have a dream where we’re sailing around the island and I can see a beach that looks a little like Water Tower or Quidnet, though it also looks like a beach from another dream. A large dune and then a series of smaller dunes separates the shore from a series of dirt roads. The beach juts out into the water like the beach at Pocomo where one side faces the harbor and the other faces the channel. This side gets deeper and the waves get bigger—this side is the place where two currents converge. In my dream we are trying to rescue someone, not from the ocean but from the shore. If we can remember the name of the beach, we can get others to bring their boats there, we can get others to help.

I use place names not to imply stasis or to enclose the possibilities of a coastline or limit its ability for reference—but to let a sound sift through the imagined terrain, to world build even if that world remains loose. But in order to sketch a map that skirts specificity, memory must make way for invention.

I have a memory where we are walking down the beach. We are the only ones there, or nearly the only ones. I hold you in the ocean, arms around my neck, feet lifting with each wave. Or you talk on the phone, ankle deep and tracing the tideline, smiling at me over your sunglasses. If I refuse to name where we were, will a new place grow into memory? If I chart the names of where worlds were built, will they dissolve?

Read more from Issue No. 31 or share on Twitter.