I walked slowly along the track that flip-flops and bare feet had cut into the soft grass of the sand dunes that overlooked the Bay of Audierne. It had been one of the worst days of my life. I had been made to feel like my life was not worth living at all, someone without reason to despise me had pulled me apart, left me an emotional wreck. I tried to convince myself that it was just carelessness or thoughtlessness but it had happened on one too many occasions now. I was devastated and furiously angry and it took every ounce of resolve that I had left, to walk away.
Hours I walked, looking out at the sea, wondering if I could walk into the flat, calm water and never turn back: if that really worked or if it only happened in films. I was alone, again, in a foreign country, with, it seemed, no friends. It was feeling like that more and more at the time. Even on the rare occasions that I didn’t lose control, nobody had time for me anymore, knew how to talk to me or deal with me, most people would just avoid me. The depression took hold.
As the sun began to dissolve into the sea, I took the camera from the bag over my shoulder and began to take photographs, perhaps to leave a final reminder of myself if I did decide to walk into the water. I continued slowly, photographed the rolling sand dunes and the fence lines that supported them; photographed the gulls that swooped to catch flies in the evening light, captured the colours of the burning sky, kept walking until the last of the light had disappeared into blackness. I returned to the accommodation, couldn’t, didn’t want to sleep in case the following day was worse than that one. Instead I sat outside watching the stars until the cool night air had turned to glistening dew and the sun had risen again.
Trevor had noticed I was missing, came to find me. Without being told he recognised my state, stayed with me for the rest of my time in France. Perhaps I did have friends.
When I returned home the images were thrown onto a hard-drive. Shortly after that my camera equipment was packed away and left untouched for several years.
I was looking through archives of old images, when I came across a folder labelled only with a date. I didn’t recognise where the photographs were of, but they looked like they had potential, thought they would be worth editing. As I loaded the images into my editing software, I began to remember that weekend almost four years ago. Scrolling through them, I realised just how bad things had been at that point and how in comparison everything is relatively stable now.
The images now finally edited are for me a lasting reminder of just how bad things can get. To most these will just be photographs of a beach and sunset, but to me they are filled with emotion, filled with doubt, hate and bewilderment. More importantly though they prove to me that it is worth carrying on, no matter how bad things seem.