It was a journey of heaven and hell, not necessarily in that order. The taxis only stop one mile away. The trudge to the beach feels like purgatory: endless and challenging. I fall to my knees like a disciple condemned on that winding dirt track: fatigued, bloodied and crying, Aghast, the playa pilgrims circle, proffering platitudes and plasters. Afterwards, the trip to Cala Torta morphs into hell. Staggering from the golden stem of the goblet cove toward its liquid rim, I blink at the marauding, topless masses, jellyfish warning flags, whip overzealous wasps from my sanguine shin, to limp to the lifeguard, who pours burning acid into my weeping wounds, screams muffled by the waves, drowned in the tide.
As the sun sinks amber I surrender on the golden sands, supine, limbs splayed for stigmata under the judgement of the cerulean sky and slip into seaside oblivion… As I wake, the crowds are dissipating. House rhythms calm me, like a heartbeat enshrined within the rugged torso of the cliffs. In thrall to siren song, and insouciant to the heeds of the lifeguard, I succumb to the succour of the crystalline waters, wade towards the silhouette of Menorca in the hinterland, feel something – or someone – nip at my wounds, dip my head below the sparkling waters to join the subaqueous diorama of thousands of white beacons chasing, lazing, darting, playing, transfixing and encircling us. Eagles dive for their pescatarian prey overhead, rabbits frolic in the sand dunes’ thicket, and despite knowing we must leave before the sun sleeps, we dip our heads over and over, again and again, powerless to the magnetism of marine psychedelia.
I left a piece of my old self – weary, wounded and broken – in the cove that day. Propelled by palmers’ songs to the beat of an old wooden drum scavenged from the trunk of an olive tree along the apocalyptic foothills of the cliffs, I bask in my aquamarine resurrection and silently thanked those fish for baptising me in their iridescent kaleidoscope at Cala Torta that day.