Here the toetoe grow, here where the dunes declare their origin, where the sand meets the sea and the sea stretches forever. Here we lay our blanket and spread our meal – the crisp crackle of plastic being torn and crackers tumbling out; watching the soft cheese bulge until it gives way to the knife; lemonade hissing and bananas splitting.
You cross your legs and tuck your hair behind your ears. All gentle innocence, you are, all light and solicitous silence. School is fine, you tell me. What else makes up your life? Play dates and Saturday morning television and excitement over being allowed a McDonalds sundae last night.
The wind is sharp and clouds begin to cover the sky. Above us the cliffs rise, gaunt and unapologetic, and I wish I’d just taken you to the cinema. Your eyes are the same grey of the sea, and when you get up to show me your cartwheels your limbs stretch and twist, silvered with fair hairs.
A dog comes up to you, its fur matted with sea water. You pick up a piece of driftwood and throw it, the dog fetches it and brings it back. A middle-aged woman approaches, greying hair snatched in handfuls by the wind.
The woman calls the dog and it races towards her. You come and join me on the blanket again, open your hand and show me a shell you have picked up. Rose pink with scalloped edges. You put it in your pocket for later.