The car journey was interminable. Each seemingly never-ending mile was punctuated with impatient whimpering from my brother and I felt the overwhelming desire to smother him. But I was too busy looking outside to feel jaded. I leaned my eager face out of the window, looking at the scenery that was new to me. Thick, green bushes and towering trees. Other cars zooming past, birds flying desperately close to the car, and then swooping off into the great mass of sky above. The faint view of the shoreline and the ocean, so bright and vast. My eyes whizzed past every detail and I wished I had more than one pair of eyes. The panorama whizzed past me and then, in no time at all, we arrived.
Seagulls chirped as we stepped out, and I was transfixed. Sapphire, undulating waves spitting and foaming next to uncontaminated sand filled with faded sand castles and washed-up shells. I forgot to close the car door, I just ran down the worn steps to the wonderland in front of me. My parents just watched as I smelt the air, mesmerised by its saltiness, the sand falling down my socks into my tiny toes. My little face lit up as one immeasurable wave crashed down onto the sand. Little parts of water sprayed over my face as I laughed at the waves drifting in and out. My parents caught up with me, amusement in their eyes as I paddled about despite my little trousers getting soaked, and put up a wind break and set out metal chairs that sunk in the soft, warm sand. They took my miniscule, cherry shoes off. My mum plastered me with white, soft sun-cream that made my body shiny and greasy-looking.
Sand slipped between my wiggling toes as I paced about, running from parents to shoreline, my face etched with a smile. The sea captivated my attention more than anything else, it’s dark blue-green surface shimmering with the blasting sun. Little fishes swimming in its deep and dark crevices. It’s waves rising and falling, scaring me as it came closer before going back out again, leaving the sand darker than before.
My Mum, looking at me fondly, dressed me in a small, frilly pink polka dot bathing suit and my Dad carried me in his arms to the sparkling sea. He led me towards it. I looked up at him; to me he was the epitome of trust, my hero, the strongest man in the world.
“Come on Kate, come play in the water!” he shouted, already up to his knees. I looked out at the sea, It looked so much bigger than me, its fierce waves, that once seemed so rhythmic and calming, loomed up and crashed down by my helpless self, its froth dissolving at my feet, making me shiver. My dad seemed so far away, and the sea was one giant blue barrier keeping me from him. I turned and further away from the water to the comforting feel of dry sand on my feet.
The lunch we ate was a picnic: sandwiches, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, crisps, a true meal for the beach. I wolfed down the food, despite the slight bits of sand that had managed to get through the bag and into them. The sweet, tender, juicy fruit quenched my thirst and the crisps filled my emptying stomach. Running around a beach is hard work, especially if you’re only a diminutive child.
After we had finished, I decided to go and explore the sands, eager to find a beautiful shell of stone that I would treasure forever. The beach was a long one, but I wandered off by myself, searching the ground as I did, trailing off direction as I looked at the floor and almost banging into people.
There were countless numbers of pebbles in so many shapes and sizes. Big, round, fat stones and dark, evil black. minuscule stones with tiny, beautiful patterns layering them – swirls and lines of colours. Thousands of shells, twirls of perfectly formed bone, each one wanting a home, but empty, lonely and beautiful. Myriads of colour, pearl white, luminous blue and stunning pink. I picked a small one up and felt it in my delicate little hand, feeling the smoothness of it. I wandered off, looking and collecting shells and stones till I had filled the bucket full to the brim. I looked up.
I couldn’t see my parents. I couldn’t see my brother. All I could see was the soft, soft sand and the great blue sea in front of me.
“Mum?” I cried, turning my blurring eyes round and round, desperate to see some sign of my parents.
Panic. The world seemed blurry, unreal. The peoples voices around me and across the beach faded to a dull drone of constant noise, I couldn’t concentrate. I was alone.
I seemed to be on the other side of the beach; there weren’t many people around, just a few mismatched shapes of people trying to soak up the last bit of the sun before it disappeared. Frantically I called and called and cried and cried, urgently trying to get someone’s attention, anyone’s attention. I cried for a good couple of minutes, before I lost hope. In child time, a couple of minutes might have well been a lifetime. I sat on the now ugly and hard sand, looking out at the sea that was now just one big murky sight. I looked out of the beach that was still busy, but emptying, trying to find even a glimpse of my parents But no one was there. Just strangers, all strangers, no one I knew or loved.
“Kate!” someone shouted. Dad! He rushed over to me, his big, tough face white with fear and worry. “Oh thank God I’ve found you… For a minute I thought I had…” He picked me up in his rough hands and I clung on to him, embracing him and his smell of cows, dogs cats and various other animals. He wiped the trickling tears from my eyes as we walked off back to my loving family, and into the car, where my eyes slowly closed shut to the view of the sun setting behind me.