• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 03
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Long distant shores

At 7 he had his very first experience of a beach. It was the perfect day, a sunny drive across the moors, chips and ice-cream, the deathly menace of the gulls, cold wet sand and a shoulder blistering sun. But the waves. Oh how he loved the sounds of those waves.

At 12 his parents somehow sprung for a foreign holiday. Universal sign language, warm evenings eating out as the sun set, late nights, a family more relaxed and adventurous than he had even known before. The villa was a stone's throw from the beach, pebbly though it was. Falling asleep to the glorious sound of those waves, to the roll of the smooth ground rocks. Breath in time to the swell of the ocean.

At 24 a bonfire on a distant beach. Food and beer, laughing carefree travelling companions who would come and go over those weeks, names long forgotten. Barefooted and shirtless, the fire heat on one side the cool sea washed air caressing him from the other. And the sound of those waves, hidden by the inky horizon, but rhythmic and calming, and almost touchable. Propped against a log he dozed, beer in hand, and was taken into sleep by the ocean itself.

At 44 he stood and watched his younger self dive and play in the calm warm of the Mediterranean as his wife looked on, half in his world and half her own. He swam and played and surfed, but longed for the abandonment and pure joy of being that child again. The surface almost mirror flat but if you stopped, made the time to listen, it was always there. The almost silence of his own blood welcoming the heart beat of the sea.

At 76 the click and beep of machinery, the silent drip from the intravenous bag held high by shining chrome scaffold. End stages now as his wife sits beside him and his son uses his phone to played the soundtrack of the sea. The sound of time passing, the real rhythm of the world to let him drift to sleep.