'A Sense of the Sea' by Annmarie Miles

Nazar loved the sea. He loved the feel of cold water on his feet and squishy sand between his toes. He loved the rush of water around his ankles and the pull of the outgoing wave. His other love was stones. He was an expert at spotting the unusual. Nazar recognised every shade and line; every curve and rough corner. 

He rarely saw much on the beach; a woman walking her dog, a man with his child. Never before had he seen a camper van. 

He went to investigate. As he got close to the van, a man opened the door. Nazar wanted to walk away, but the man called out to him before he could turn around. In a moment of uncertainty, Nazar froze. He blinked a couple of times, and the man was standing in front of him. He was talking quickly and Nazar couldn't catch all he was saying.

“Slow down,” said Nazar. “You need to slow down; I don't know what you're saying.”

"You can't understand English?" Camper van man replied, in exaggerated syllables.

"I can understand it. I just can't hear it! If you take your time I can read your lips."

“Ahhh, ok. Well, I just thought I’d take a walk along the water's edge. Want to come with me?”

Nazar was interested in the man and even though it broke his mum's rule about strangers, he agreed. 

“Why is your camper van on the beach?"

“Oh my girl and I, we’re travelling poets. You like poetry?”

"Not really." Nazar shrugged a reply.

"What do you like?" 

"Stones"

"Sorry mate, I thought you said stones. Come again?"

"I did say stones." Nazar waved his bucket. 

"Oh ok. Cool. Everyone has their thing."

They got to the shoreline. Nazar was already barefoot and the man didn't bother removing his sandals.

"Beautiful huh?" 

"Yes" said Nazar. "It really is. It looks like it sounds cool." 

"Awh man it really does. So soothing, but hurrying too. Like when you’re on a rollercoaster; you know? The swell then the drop. The rush, the pause, then the rush again. It's the nearest I can tell you." 

It was the best description Nazar had been given. 

"So are you a good poet?" 

"I think so. I'm a happy poet. I love to write and share my poetry with others." 

They stood in silence after that; letting the water race past their feet.

"Oh I gotta go, I can hear my girl calling me. You want to meet another travelling poet?" 

"No, thanks. I'd better go." Nazar held out his hand to shake hands. The man did too; above Nazar's and to the right of it. Nazar had been so busy looking at his lips he had not noticed his eyes. Nazar moved his hand to meet the man’s. 

"Do you want me to tell you what the sea looks like?”

“Thanks kid but I got it. Rollercoaster right? Swell then drop, rush then calm?" 

Nazar smiled. “Yeah that's it.”

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