I don’t mean a safe room in your house, but rather the little spot that your mind withdraws to when you need to escape the ambient craziness, or all the things that keep you from sleeping.
I have a safe place. Unsurprisingly, it is mapped to a real location, a spot on a beach in Normandy where I spent most of my summers until adulthood. The day a bout of restless nights led me on a quest for a safe and relaxing space my mind could wander to, there was no hesitation in choosing that beach spot over a more conventional place like a bedroom at my parents’ house.
It had seen me grow into a man. I remember the first sand forts with my dad, playing with my cousins, hunting for shrimp, wrestling with my brother, my first time standing on a board. It had helped me grow into a man. I remember the cold swims, going windsurfing alone at 15 during the roughest weather when adults wouldn’t dare, and the endless talks with friends around a fire. If there was one spot even 15,000 miles away I could take refuge at, reset, and contemplate the present and future, this was it.
Nowadays, I rarely get a chance to visit the spot that has become my safe place. Today, as I actually sit here (there?) in real life, I think of the small details that differentiate the 2 spots. It’s past sunset and I can hear the low-tide waves crash on the shore and the trawlers’ engines far out at sea. The sand is rough, chunks of sea weed. A soft breeze brings smells of the sea. At my safe place, it is always daylight, sunny and completely silent. The sand is clean. There is no wind, no smells. Like a picture.
Like the thousand memories that appear before me as I look around the moonlit beach. Like a thousand worries purged from my mind as I lie on the clean sand in broad daylight. Until my next visit.