The wind blows softly through my hair, blowing it off my face. I smile to myself. It feels good now it’s grown back. Better than the crew cut of just six months ago. The shingle digs in a little but I jiggle my bottom and it settles into a comfortable hollow. I watch as the sun slowly starts its descent towards the horizon.
The salt air tingles on my lips and the fresh sea air fills my nostrils. No dank smelling seaweed here. Each day the sea rushes in and cleanses the shingle beach.
Children call out in the distance but I sit too far away from the sandy strip and the amusements for them to be a bother.
How many times have I sat here like this? Watching the sea. The ebb and flow. Watching the windsurfers, the paddle boarders and further out the jet skiers. On the horizon a ship steams along. I assume a cargo ship bound for the Americas; I am too far down the coast for it to be a cross channel ferry.
I remember the last time we were here. You pushed me up the ramp, struggled, and gasped for air. But you persevered and got me to the sea wall. I was losing weight but the NHS don’t lend out modern light weight wheelchairs. You wrapped an old tartan blanket around my legs and tucked me in tight. The next thing I remember was you beside me, panting and dripping ice cream on my arm. You had run all the way to the stand and back. We sat watching the sea, eating our ice creams. The wind whipping round and clouds racing overhead. Winter by the sea, my favourite time.
And now I am back. I beat it. I fought it. We fought it. I couldn’t have done it without you. Always there to hold my hand, to make me feel better.
Why couldn’t I do the same for you? Why did you get a chance to fight? Were you too tired after my fight? Did you lose concentration or was it the other guy? They never said. I never asked.
And so now I sit here. Alone. Watching the sea.