To be Here

Dear Naja,

It was the day of the sharing. You went into practical mode. You had to arrange stuff before going to the beach, you had to write a logistical script, you had to make a plan for the day.
The weather was perfect: the sky blue between the clouds, not too cold, and it was dry. You packed your bag – raincoat (to be sure), rain pants, on a paper the possible script, a sandwich, something to drink – and went to the beach. You felt a bit unsettled.

At the top of the dune, you were taken by surprise: the beach looked completely different! Everywhere shallow puddles of water, from the dunes to ten metres from the flood line. The beach had turned into a swamp. Luckily there was a small stretch of sand closer to the sea, where you could place the audience. You walked towards it.

Aline appeared over the top of the dune, in a car. She came bringing nice smelling red cloths, and stones to weigh down the corners of the cloths, so that the wind would not blow them away.
‘And what about high tide?’ asked Marloes, who had joined Aline.
‘What about it?’
You heard the slightly scared tone of your voice.
‘Between 5 and 6 the water will be at its highest, that is exactly the moment of the presentation.’

You speculated about how high it would become, but could not predict whether the stretch of sand would be flooded or not. You didn’t know what to do. Lying in the mud was certainly not an option.

Suddenly you couldn’t think sharply anymore.
You were tired.
You felt anxious.
You felt really anxious.
You felt as anxious as before the premiere of a project you had worked on for years.
You could’t make decisions anymore.
Thank god for Rita who came with you today and talked you into the only right decision in a calming way.
She even massaged your shoulders.

Once the audience came, you were here again.
You welcomed them and gave everyone their bundle of red cloth and stones. You walked down the dune and zigzagged between the puddles to the dry sand that hadn’t been flooded in the end. You sat down.

One by one you swaddled them tightly, with the help of another audience member, on a self-chosen place. You tried to be gentle and thorough. ‘The watchtower is guarding you,’ you said before walking towards the next one.

There they were, five bright red cocoons along the flood line, heads sticking out, on an endless grey-white beach. The sea was rushing calmly. The image was stunning. Aline took a picture. You smiled. You breathed out.

You waited a bit before you took off the cloth of the first audience member. He looked sleepy.
‘Take your time. It was great to have you here,’ you said. He nodded.

After everyone was out of their cocoons they were lingering a bit.
Someone asked if he could give feedback. He had felt comfortable and safe. He had thought of his childhood. He had thought about birth and death, he had felt everything was ok the way it was, that if the sea were to wash over him, that that would also be ok, he had thought about being a tourist sitting on a towel and about the space between all these associations. His eyes were a bit red.

Someone had ended up in the magical space between waking and sleeping.

Someone said she could imagine this to be a full three-hour performance, and that she was looking forward to it.

Someone had to pee and had been thinking of escaping the cocoon all the time.

Someone said she was always quite distracted but that her thoughts had been here all the time.

They had been here.
You were happy and surprised.
You walked back on the swampy beach.

At the top of the dune you stood still for a moment and looked over the landscape. You saw an intensely green landscape of grass, bushes and trees. You imagined yourself walking there,
into some new adventure.

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