Sea takes my breath away

Carolyn on the beach
Carolyn on the beach
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THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis

So, we’ve just got back from our holiday....I don’t know what it is about the seaside that always makes me feel small and insignificant...although small was the last thing I felt, crammed into a size 16 wetsuit ( I tried to pretend it was age 16, but my family didn’t buy it…)

Standing in the icy water, I kept a smile fixed on my face as another wave took my breath away...the rubber shoes, meant to protect my feet from sharp stones, merely invited the stones in for a party, to see how many could squeeze themselves in, causing me to dance the “Hobble”, a special boogie that saw me moving crablike along the sea bed.

I’m not really one for body boarding; my idea of a relaxing beach holiday is a book,sun cream and sleep, playfully stabbed with an ice cream or 2...but my youngest loves it and there was no way she was going in alone.

I even had a go myself, at being flung to the shore; great fun until I cut my legs...which was fine, as I had lost all sensation in them.

Almost as soon as I had started to enjoy it, it was over. I’m all for living in the moment, but a bit longer would have been nice...my daughters wanted to do something else...whereas I could have floated on the sea, imagining the depths far out on the horizon for a lot longer.

Beginning our walk back, I could hear a woman frantically shouting at her little boy...he was heading for the promenade, quite fast, with she hurried to catch up with him.

A lorry was driving past, oblivious to the small figure approaching. His mother screamed “ Edmund, STOP! There’s a lorry coming!” The lorry passed, the boy still running, fortunate timing being their only saviour.

I’m sure that mother didn’t like being in that moment, out of control, watched by spectators...living in the moment is great when things are going well, leaving us with lovely memories.

But a negative moment isn’t one to wallow in....it’s uncomfortable...whether it’s an ongoing illness that doesn’t seem to improve, or seeing someone you love in pain...when it’s a rejection of who you are, or a humiliation with a vast audience…it’s something you want to move through very quickly.

On our last day, we went to another beach, full of body boarders. I was just beginning to watch the sea, when a little voice said “Oh, I would love to float on my board like that!” and the fact I couldn’t access my wetsuit, buried under suitcases, fell on deaf ears. I knew that I was about to enter into a ‘mixed moment’...one where my being uncomfortable would lead to another’s pleasure.

Which is why I ended up waist high in the sea, in my dress, with bare feet, smile frozen, and I mean frozen, on my face, watching my youngest paddle on her board, telling me this was the best day ever. It almost made up for the fact I had to travel home, for five hours, cold, damp and wearing only a fleece...

Almost.