My boots were stuck in the sand. Actually they were deeper than the sand. I was in the mud. My boots were stuck in the mud. I tried to pull myself out, but I feel my socks coming loose and the shoe being left behind. I tryed to step forward but I couldn't. I look ahead into the distance and see my Dad running madly forward.
"That's the sandles lost then." He said. He's only in his socks.
We went to Crosby beach today to see "Another Place" or Anthony Gormley's statues. I'd watched the news reports beforehand of teenagers going out to far and getting stuck in the tide, holding onto the figures for dear life. How we'd laughed at the stupidity. So we'd said we wouldn't go out too far. And we hadn't. But that sand looked so stable and I'd stepped forward and plop.
I didn't panic. I wasn't actually sinking. But I wasn't going anywhere else. I eventually managed to pull my left foot out, boot and all. But there was nowhere for it to go but backward, back into a squelch as it went back into the soft sand. My plan was to keep doing this until I hit a hard surface. That lasted about thirty seconds when I realised it would require the right foot to move and it wasn't going anywhere.
My now my Dad had retrieved his sandles and had trotted back over. I put out my hand and he took it and tried to pull. But he was falling towards me so he stepped back again. I'm glad my Dad's here. I imagined the phone call home if I'd been out on my own "I'm on Crosby beach and I'm stuck in the mud." I'm not very practical -- whenever something happens in the real world, usually with nature, I have no idea what to do. I'll struggle through, but my Dad somehow just knows. I've no common sense whatsoever.
"I'm going to have to come out of the boots." I said.
I pulled my left foot out, with boot still stuck in the mud. My foot found some more sand to get lost in, but this seemed safer somehow. I turned and tried to pull the orphaned boot out. I eventually have to dig my hands in and pull the thing up from underneath. It's misshapen and caked in dirt, which scattered off as I flung it backwards towards the steady sand behind. Time to do the same with my right foot. I pulled my right foot out, but this time I started sinking. I panicked and dragged myself backwards as quickly as I could, each step slightly easier. I dragged my way up the stand. I turned back. My boot had been left behind.
By now I'd decided it was a lost cause. I'd walk all the way back to the station and get the train back into Liverpool in my bare feet if I had to. But before I could say anything, my Dad had jumped forward and was throwing himself into a battle with the sand to the pull the boot up. Now he was knee deep and I'm telling him to leave it or then that I'd go back myself, but he'd got both hands in each of the holes I'd left behind trying to find the thing. I tried to direct him to the hole I thought it was in, but I was confused.
Dad found the boot. It was sunk a little bit, and by hand he dug a space around it, throwing the mud from side to side until he could pull it free. Dad turned and handed it to me -- it was full of mud and clay which I tried to shake out as best I could. Dad turned and with much more agility than I had, stepped back up to the steady sand.
We spent the next half hour using the salt water which had been left behind by the tide in some parts of the beach trying to wash ourselves off as best we could. Somehow, while Dad was getting cleaner and cleaner, I was getting even dirtier. I kept joking about how in some places you'd pay thousands for a treatment like that. I had mud everywhere. It was caked up my jeans, up my legs, up my arms. There was even a spot on my face. He suggested I use my sock as a cloth and this worked. But I wasn't clean, just making space in my skin so that I could move my fingers to blow my nose and throw the hair out my eyes.
Eventually we were together enough to walk back up the beach and enjoy the statues. They're an incredible sight, lonely figures looking hopelessy out to sea, unable to move. For those few minutes when I couldn't get my legs to move I know exactly what that was like.