I had to bring Emily to this place, to this beautiful place, where my mother brought me twenty-seven years ago. “Remember this time. It’s the way life should be.” And I sensed, even at the time, she was telling me that happiness is elusive and fleeting, as she held me in her lap, as we sat on the sand and watched the waves rolling in under the moonlight, and as I examined the pebbles in my hand.
And now in her memory we come back to this same cottage, arriving late and in darkness after the working day. Emily settles in bed and is soon asleep while I look out of her window towards the sea. I’m tired, but sleep won’t come. I get up, and look at the moon shining through the trees, the trees which border the track down to the beach.
And an open top car quietly pulls into the driveway, and there is Emily’s father, but as I first knew him. I know he cannot be there, and also that he is, and that I am seventeen. He waves and opens the passenger door and gestures me into the seat.
I leave the cottage and go to him, and we drive off through the forest without a word passing between us, and the wind blows our hair. My heart races with fear, with excitement. He gets out and stands at the edge of the trees, looking down on the sea. Suddenly I feel the deepest longing. I follow him and he looks in my eyes and we kiss, slowly and tenderly. He extends his arm towards the sea.
He puts his finger to my lips.
“Shh. There is nothing but you and me, the sea and the moon.”
And I see it is true. So we walk to the waves, and paddle, and wade and swim. And we play and laugh and hold each other in the silver sea. Then as he looks in my eyes I feel myself being pulled down. I struggle at first, but he smiles at me reassuringly, and I feel a sweet calmness upon me. All is well. All is well.