SHE’S A ‘force of nature’ kind of girl. I sometimes can’t tell where the waves start and she ends. I try to call out to her and forget she can’t hear me. My voice travels in her direction until the wind grabs it and carries it away.
She’s not looking at me anyway. It’s deliberate, this ‘not looking, not looking’ game. No one is in charge but her and she’ll pay attention when she bloody well likes.
I only want to make sure that she plays in the sand near our feet. Just over there not all the way away. So I trudge through tiny shards of shells, slowly broken down from ocean to shore, just to reach her.
I talk to her with my hands. Come closer to Mummy and Daddy. You can play how you like, just stay nearby, okay? My child-Sphinx thinks on that for a second and then nods. It’s okay.
She runs behind me to our point on the beach and stays within the invisible flags of our agreement. I watch her, fully-clothed, splashing and laughing in the water, and say to my husband: “She’s ours, but she’s a stranger too, isn’t she? She belongs only to herself”.
He can only agree.