It was one of those perfect summer’s sunny days that can only exist in the memory of the past. Families parked outside their individual candy coloured beach-huts, sitting, playing, eating, laughing. The beach sandy, the pebbles smooth, the sea bright as the sun shines and glistens on the low lapping crystal blue waves.
High above seagull squark, but are well behaved, neither swooping down to grab a chip from a holiday maker strolling along the prom, or evacuating its lunch on a child’s shoulder (the seagull, not the holiday maker). This really is a perfect summer’s sunny day, as I remember it.
There I am, playing on the shore with my cousin, Michael splashing water at each other, running along the shore. Laughter, so much laughter on this perfect summer’s sunny day.
Shooting out of the water, wooden groins line the shore, starfish cling on to the rough barnacle edgers. Out of nowhere, my cousin shouts, “Dare yah! Dare yah to paddle out along that groin”.
Always up for a dare. Aren’t we all when youth is our folly? And so with trunks and tee-shirt on I wade out to see how far I can go, not the most scariest thing I have ever done, but still at the time it felt like fun.
I’m wading out further, pulling my tee-shirt with a picture of a dude riding a Kawasaki motobike printed on it. Up above the waves, only now noticing that the wind has changed, the sun’s gone in, the current is pulling hard around my feet. High above, the seagulls squark, but this time there is fear in their throats as they look at me below. All too soon waves have risen, panic fills my whole body, my eyes wide. Clinging on to the groin, the barnacles are digging in, scraping, scratching, my face etched with a look that to anyone who saw it would know it as terror.
I look out to sea, the dark grey waves increase in strength, ready to whip me away to a watery grave. I turn to my cousin, standing safely on the shore, our eyes lock, he turns back to the beach hut, then back to me and shouts, Glenn, Glenn, throw us your t-shirt it will get ruined, you’ll get in so much trouble, it’s new!