I was driving down the coast today – it is a truly magnificent spring day today, it’s one of those days I wish I had a convertible, just a cheap one…nothing wankery, because the wind blowing through my open windows just isn’t enough to knot my hair completely, or carry my pumping 90s rock across the entire suburb!

While doing the worm with my right arm out the driver’s side window and screaming ‘Jeremy spoke in claaaaaaaasss today’ my mind suddenly found itself in the 1980s.beach

I was wedged in the back seat of my Mum’s maroon Marina, clearly I lost shotgun that day, between my baby sister and my even baby-er brother. The fake, tan leather seat was combining well with the sun cream and sweat on the back of my legs to create a lovely, slippery slime, and the metal seatbelt buckle was almost giving me second degree burns on my bony hip, but nothing was on my mind except for being first. As Mum drove us through the final suburb, up and down the most incredibly steep hills I had ever seen, I was hovering as high as I could over the bench seat to be the first person to see the water. I was the eldest, therefore the tallest, and I was the master of the hover without mum seeing and yelling at me to sit down properly, so even though I was stuck in the back, surely I’d be the first to see it.

“I see it!” my sister yelled from her throne in the front. Dammit. Well played, Lisa, well played.

But the most important race was yet to be run… who would be the first to reach the water? I had this race down pat. The advantage was sitting in the backseat, so I could remove the thick, brown seatbelt from the ridiculously hot buckle and sit with the belt loosely hanging across my torso. Seriously, if I could whistle, I would have, so as not to draw any attention to myself…!  Thongs off, ready in my hand, no one ever won a race to the water while wearing thongs. I threw my towel around my neck where it wouldn’t get in the way or trip me over during my dash.

Into the car park, mum barely had the car out of gear before that belt was thrown off my shoulder, the car door flung open to breaking point on the hinges and I was off – down the steep steps and sinking up to my knees in the soft sand. The hot, hot, boiling hot sand that only served to make my seven-and-three-quarter legs spin faster, carrying my body on such an angle that you’d swear I’d topple at any moment and roll the whole way to the water’s edge.

I reached the point where the water regularly met the sand, and wiggled my twiggy arms out of my sundress, jogging on the spot to let my feet recover in the cooler, harder sand beneath, and before long I was off again, leaving my sundress, towel and thongs behind me.

Into the water, flinching ever so slightly at its temperature, taking a few big strides and flopping into the ocean’s embrace. Here I finally stopped, still underwater for as long as my breath would last, letting the motion of the waves rock me underwater, squinting my eyes against the salt and the reflection of the beaming sun, grinning like the Cheshire. I was finally here. And I was first.

Yep, that’s where I went during my drive along the coast today. And I loved every second of it.

“We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.” — Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts


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