She takes a photo of the completed seascape and posts it to Instagram. She doesn’t particularly enjoy painting but she enjoys being someone who paints. It seems the kind of thing she ought to do, like exercising on the beach first thing in the morning. As the sun ascends, so she descends into downward dog, the legs of her pale pink yoga pants fluttering in the salty breeze as she congratulates herself on her life choices, thinking about her friends pressed nose-to-armpit on a sweaty train or trying to stop grizzling toddlers from smooshing Weetabix into soft furnishings. She’s winning.
She feels the golden rays warming her skin only as a means to photograph herself in strappy tops, squinting mischievously and shielding her eyes with her hand in that careless, spontaneous way that shows everyone what a marvellous day she’s having. She sees the frothy meringue tips of the cerulean waves only through the lens of her camera filters. She doesn’t smell the rich coffee and sweet pastries from the café on the promenade because she can’t capture scents for social media, but occasionally she’ll post a photo of herself pretending to eat one of their delicious confections so that people can comment on how she manages to stay so slim, eating all that.
Tonight she will attend a restaurant opening with a man who looks striking and mysterious in his profile picture and she will laugh at his jokes. She’ll post photos of the artfully presented food and proclaim it to be scrumptious. She might let the man take her home, if he is as impressive in person as he seems online. She might even feel something.
Emma Robertson [she/her] is a dance tutor and writer from London, UK. She has recently been published in Idle Ink, 101 Words, Free Flash Fiction, Pure Slush and 50 Word Stories. She has been longlisted by Cranked Anvil and has upcoming pieces in Virtual Zine and the Swoop Books Ordinary People anthology. Twitter: @emmadancetrain