Hennessy New Irish Writing: July 2017’s winning story

The Light on the Water by Niall McArdle

Running on the beach is supposed to be better for you because of the uneven surface: three miles on the sand is like six miles on the road. All I know is I can run barefoot on the beach and I tell myself that I like the feel of water underfoot. If the tide is out you have to walk about half a mile to the water. I prefer low tide so I always run in the morning. There’s nobody about except for a few seniors with their dogs. The view is lovely, even in the winter when the ocean looks like it wants to drown us all.

I slog through puddles and rivulets by the water’s edge, and at the end of my run I perform a daily ritual. I step into the ocean up to my waist and I let the water lap around me. It was months before I could stand this far out from the shore. The look of the ocean, slinking like a living thing, has always unnerved me.

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