In the moment

I am the coin rolling around the plastic race in a machine in the penny arcade

I am the ladette cursing loudly at the machine to impress her laughing friends.

I am the security guard shouting impotently at their retreating backs as I give half-hearted chase.

I am the boiling oil bubbling over the surface of chunky-cut frozen chips bought in bulk.

I’m the girl from the chippie mooning over a text from that guy in the pub with hair like Robert Pattinson.

I am the middle-class tourist ordering cockles so I can have an authentic experience.

I am the sea lapping against the pylons with a gentle splash that belies the force in my unseen currents.

I am the schoolboys optimistically dangling a line over the edge.

I am the fingerling, nudging suspiciously the food dangling before me.

I am the pensioners with rolled up trousers sunning their shins in deckchairs.

I am the drug dealer grinding my cigarette butt into the decking and looking out for prospects.

I am the seagull swooping down and snatching a chip.

I am the startled toddler who wails.

I am the distracted mother who rushes to the toddler and bumps the stroller where my baby sleeps.

I am the stroller shuddering to the edge.

I am the returning security guard who sees the stroller and shouts, ‘Baby!’

I am the girl that screams, the man that jumps, the crowd that freezes, the time that slows as one, two, three, four people lunge and leap and gasp and try to stop what seems inexorable, inevitable.

I am the wheel that catches. I am the hand that grasps. I am the arm that wrenches with all its might.

I am the seatbelt that tightens. I am the dummy that arcs endlessly through the air into the sea. I am the baby jerked awake that cries.

I am the moment.

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