The light

The sun came out properly today. September is usually spectacular on the North Coast – Chris Hemsworth marching about near-naked certainly does the climate no harm – but this September was mean and dark and cool. And then, this light, and the air was suddenly warm.

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I had about sixteen thousand pressing things to do today, but the light called me forth.

“Put on your boardies, dude,” I told Bethesda. “We’re hitting the beach!”

This beach, you understand, is a whole three minute stroll up the road, very hard yakka indeed. As a result of these exertions, I fell asleep at Flat Rock as Bethesda scoured the rockpools with her old ballet school friend, Summer (not just an actual person, but one with iridescent dreams). Awakening with a start, I watched hundreds of Caspian Terns wheel and screech in the sky. The distance was a thing of yachts and dolphins. I wanted to resume snoozing, but was also vaguely worried that Bethesda would be swept off to sea by a freak wave, or that she would slip and hit her head on a rock, whereupon she would be swept, unconscious, off to sea by a freak wave.

Sometimes I remember passing entire days during which I failed to entertain a single terrifying thought of Bethesda swallowing broken glass (which she once almost did) or falling into the gap between a train and the station platform (which she once actually did), but that was only because she had yet to be born. Now I’m lucky if I can get through an hour without worrying that she’ll catch pneumonia because she’s not wearing a cardigan, or that she’ll contract meningitis from a bubbler. I even carry a snake bite kit in my beach bag, although I don’t know why.

It’s a twenty-first century fetish, perhaps, to ward off the Australian Evil Eye. Great Whites, Eastern Browns, Lionfish. Fishermen in particular know all about this kind of thing.

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My take on Hot Dog Legs. I think one is supposed to be oiled, wearing a Brazilian bikini and have an infinity pool in the background, but this will have to do for now.

Angels_Beach_hotdog_Legs

“Why can’t I wear a bikini?” Bethesda asked today. “All the other girls wear bikinis, but I just look like a nerd. Only boys wear board shorts and rashies. And I have to wear a hat!”

“I’ve never seen a boy in a pink rashie,” I mused.

“Not pink, but still.”

I closed my eyes. “All the surfer girls wear rashies. I wear a rashie. As you can see, I’m wearing a rashie right now. At the age of twenty, do you want to look like the kind of old man’s shoe you find at the bottom of a Salvation Army Shop discount bin?”

Bethesda was silent for a time.

“I guess not,” she said.

“Well, then.”

She sullenly stared the horizon. “Can I wear a bikini at fifteen?”

“Sixteen,” I said. “And only in England, where there’s hardly any light at all.”

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