We go to the beach most evenings. Lucky there really, to live so close.
The kids love to run across the sand, wrapped up in fur-lined boots, scarves, bobble hats and elasticated gloves that feed through the arms of their coats. My daughter chases the tide in and out squealing when the foamy water catches up with her and touches the tip of her boots. Her rosy cheeks and wide smile are a pleasure to behold as she looks up at me waiting for me to wave at her. I do.
‘Watch out Syd, look behind you, look, now Syd, now.’
She turns around and almost goes flying, but manages to steady herself just in time.
‘Fucks sake,’ I say under my breath, ‘that was close. Good girl Syd, good girl.’
The number of times I’ve walked home with one or both of them soaking wet after a stumble in the sand. Today would not be a good day for that as Sare had expressly asked me to keep a close eye on them.
My boy is a different kettle of fish to his sister; he’s not content with chasing the tide, he’s squatted down in the sand digging up something or other that has caught his eye, throwing out the bits that he’s not interested in and piling up the treasures that mean something in his little mind.
‘Alright Vin?’ He doesn’t answer.
‘Vinnie!’ He looks up. ‘Alright?’ He nods, then looks down and gets on with his stuff. He rocks.
I look out at the sea, rub my hands, shrug my shoulders and answer my phone which has just started ringing. I walk a few steps this way and that, chatting to my mate, keeping an eye on the kids, having a laugh. There’s very few people about, just the usual characters walking their dogs. Syd is still chasing the tide, and Vinnie has decided to throw his treasures into the sea.
‘Hold on mate’, I say into the phone. ‘Vin, Vinnie, watch what you’re doing, watch Syd. Vin, Vinnie….’, he looks up, ‘Watch where you’re throwing things, you’re gonna hit your sister. Watch where you’re throwing things or we’ll have to go home.’
‘Sorry about that mate,’ I say into my phone, ‘Vinnie’s randomly throwing things, and missed Syd by about an inch. I think I need to teach him a bit about space and distance. Hahaha.’
I bend over and pick up a bit of old drift wood and lob it over my shoulder.
‘Jeeeeeeez, what the hell….’, I turn sharply and see some guy lying on the sand about fifteen feet away from me, the lump of wood lying beside him.
‘Shit. Vinnie…..what did I tell you about throwing stuff!’
‘Sorry daddy’, came his little voice, ‘sorry daddy.’
I looked at my son, looked at the guy, waved my apologies, and realised that I’d stitched my son up: he was getting any amount of sweets that he wanted tonight.