The van pulled on to the sun bleached grass of the car park overlooking the bay. The motor spluttered and rumbled for a moment then fell silent. Early evening sun was still full of warmth though it hung just above the constant shifting and rolling sea.
He folded his arms on top of the steering wheel and leant forward to gaze out the windscreen. He allowed himself to relax a little, a gentle smile appearing on his face. He had been away from the coast for too long. A dead time, but now he was beginning to feel close to the sea once more. The sound. The smell. His heart beat quicker as he watched perfect waves rolling in on the incoming tide.
“It looks beautiful out there,” Helen told him with a big bright smile on her face. She knew how he was feeling. She felt it too. Kissing his cheek she climbed over her seat and into the back.
The summer was beginning to change. You could feel it in the colour of the light and the blue of the sky. It could be felt in the water too; sea swells and currents changing, the way the leaves of a tree change. Autumn was waiting.
Alex watched Helen wriggling into her wetsuit in the rear-view mirror. He did not care that summer was fading. For him it was just beginning. “Looks as if most people are clearing off for the evening,” he told his girl. “It should be quiet out there for us.”
In a few minutes the sun was touching the sea and two figures were walking the track that led down to stony steps. A hop and skip around rock pools and then on to the beach proper with boards carried carefully until they stopped with their feet in the gradually cooling sand.
“I never felt sure we would make it and now here we are.” Alex looked into Helen’s eyes. “Now everything begins I suppose.”
Helen made fists with her toes in the sand and squinted as she felt Alex’s gaze upon her. “I’m so glad we are here. Together,” she told him. “After everything you’ve been through I’d like to think that nothing really begins or ends. It only changes. Things have changed for us. For better.”
Alex watched a wave, like turquoise paint being poured on to a darker turquoise, tumbling over.
“Like energy,” Helen added.
“Like a wave,” Alex said with a smile.