The child, the father and the sea

His sun-kissed belly sticks to the beach mat of straw, his hands have been buried up to his joints in the hot sand and the skin on the back of his thighs begins to stretch uncomfortably, but he does not want to get up yet. Not yet and not in the foreseeable future. He remembers how much he had drawn the holiday in the past few weeks, how he had thought about it and made plans in the office almost incessantly. And now it’s finally time, now he is actually here on the endlessly long, golden sandy beach and wants today, on the first day, can bring by absolutely nothing at all.
Under the half-closed eyelids he observes the children as they build a sandcastle. For hours they dig tirelessly in the powdered sugar sand. This creates trenches and ramparts, but in the end they are all destroyed by the approaching waves. And then the children start running again without complaining about it and fill the colorful buckets with water again. With this beautiful, salty water, which is as mirror-smooth today as if it were a huge, shiny oil surface. Always the same for hours, he thinks to himself and does not know whether he should admire this childish perseverance or make fun of her.
“Dad watch!”, Cries the little one, his blond curls shimmering in the glaring sunlight like angel hair and fall down to the shoulders of the dainty, slightly tanned body of the four-year-old. “Dad, the tower just will not get higher,” he complains again, but the dad is unanswerable at the moment. “Not now, maybe a little later, when the dad has rested,” the mother comforts and tries with her skilful hands to give the collapse-prone building more stability. Only when the children suddenly start to cry loudly, does Papa finally rise, sighing, leaning lazily on his elbows and burying his chin in his right palm. At the same time, the sunglasses start to slide off of his sweaty forehead and finally land there, where she belongs. Afterwards, he praises half-heartedly and still does not understand how one can deal so persistently with something so useless.
But the peace among the brothers does not last long. Out of the blue suddenly wild bickering arises, because the middle one has no more desire to dig longer in the sand and would rather with the air mattress out on the water wants. And because the big one grabs them without further ado and runs away with her. Without paying attention to the howling of the smallest, who now has no one to play anymore. But when the middle one asks Papa for support, he just closes his eyes in exasperation and lets himself fall back onto his mat with a deep sigh. He wishes for a fleeting moment the time back when they were still two, and he smiles at the thought of the rickety Fiat, which had never left them on all their travels back then. At that time, life had felt so feather-light and so exuberant. At that time, and he almost regrets that it is not so. But then he is ashamed of his dissatisfaction and says to himself, as if he had to convince himself that even now he had no reason to complain and everything just just felt a little different, not so free, not so carefree , not so free.
Meanwhile, his wife came back with the children from the water. In one hand she carries the filled bucket from which the water spills out to the rhythm of her footsteps, under the other arm she holds the elder in a sweatbox. Followed by the middle and the little ones, who move the wet air mattress with them, giggling cheerfully. “How does she do that?”, He mumbles at the sight and thinks about how she managed, always this good mood, always this infinite patience for the children to raise. “My God, are not the three of them too much?” He whispers and concludes his train of thought by confessing that his kindness, her eternal care for the family sometimes even got on his nerves.
As the sun burns almost vertically from the cloudless sky, he sits up and squints over the shimmering water, watching a pretty plump woman plodding lazily in a huge plastic tire, despite the air mattress battle that is currently in full swing next to her. He feels his soreness slowly fade, his interest in the yelling and screaming wakes up around him, and he finally lets himself be infected by the exhilarating serenity of beach life. Just behind the demarcated area for the bathers, he then discovers a white cabin cruiser on which three men at the rear of the tail have to celebrate something quite obviously quite exuberant mood. He smiles as he sees one of them holding up a bottle and drinking the other two, and remembers some similar situations in his bachelor days. Suddenly he blinks in disbelief at the sun, trying hard to see more exactly what he thinks he has noticed in a fleeting moment.
“Actually!”, He says to himself, referring to the child who is sitting at the bow of the cabin boat. A little kid, he estimates it to be about three years, standing alone at the tip of the ship, where his short, bare legs are almost lapped by the white foamy bow wave. It has wrapped its arms around the dainty railing of the railing and its dark curls dance in the wind. He whispers and shakes his head again in disbelief before dropping back onto his mat and sliding his sunglasses thoughtfully up over his hair. Then he closes his eyes again and lazily listens to the background noise.
Just when he decides that he has to pay a visit to the water, there is this cry. Long, scary, painful, horrible. Therefore, when he quickly rises from his mat and protects his eyes from the sunlight with his palm, most people are already on the water, blocking his view. And again there is that terrible scream, making its way across the water, beyond the people who just stand there and stare, do not understand each other in the confusion of different languages, and yet so well suspect that something terrible has happened , The laughter of the raging children on the beach is silenced and all other sounds on land. It all seems as if everyone was just waiting for that cry to fly over the water again, cutting, tormenting, not really enduring. He listens for another moment with bated breath, he finally has to know what that means. Then he starts running and reaches the frozen crowd by the water.
And there it is again, that terrible scream, always the same, incomprehensible, tortured sounds. Now the people on the beach know that the voice comes from the white cabin cruiser directly behind the buoy chain. He recognizes it right away, but now the ship is going in the opposite direction. Only two men can now be seen on the deck, the third is at the front of the bow, where the little child was sitting, the hair is tearing, the shirt tears and screams, the same words, the same despair, the same words over and over again same pain.
Nobody here on the beach is a bad idea, you grab what you can get, air mattress, rubber boat, snorkel goggles, or you just run, plunge into the water, want to help, want to be useful. He, too. And he feels his heart racing now, the anxiety robbing him of his breath and he always has the same thought again and again. “My God make you find the child!” Almost everyone is now in the water and seeks, dives as best he can, plowing the little bay criss-cross, almost every inch of the seabed, where the current is much more noticeable is as on the surface, and can not find what you are looking for. For a long time, the white cabin cruiser is no longer the only ship in the bay, it has organized, lightning fast, from the neighboring beaches, from the fish factory at the other end of the island, and of course from the village. One of them, a shabby trawler, pulls its trawl net underwater along the bottom, on the deck behind an older man in a dark blue bib pants and stares dully into the churned wake. Maybe the grandfather, it shoots through his mind before he dives back into the not too deep water of the bay.
The sun is already low in the sky, as one hesitantly begins to give up in the little book, only a few are looking further, some of them have been in the water for hours without interruption. Even the white cabin cruiser is still bobbing in the middle of the bay and the two men at the back of the deck are staring intently into the dark water. The young man at the front of the bow is now kneeling behind the railing, his upper body raised and his arms outstretched, still screaming “Sea, give me back my child!”. Someone here on the beach probably understood the words and now everyone knows them, including him. He kneels in the sand, exhausted and exhausted, and he too silently begs the sea, heaven and hell, to return his child to the father.
An old man, probably a local, points to a dark, wrought-iron garden gate on the dusty road just behind the beach and whispers, that’s where the child’s mother lives, and he shudders at the thought of what his husband’s husband must now explain. Then he closes his eyes, has to strangle the dumpling that threatens to suffocate him, and does not want to imagine the pain of these two people. He could never bear that guilt, that loss. He is sure of that.
“Sea give him back his child, the poor man did not deserve that, nobody deserves that!”, He murmurs and still kneels in the sand as it falls from his eyes like scales. Hastily he turns around and sees them all sitting on the checkered blanket next to the air mattress and the colorful buckets, silent, frightened, even these children have already realized what has happened. And suddenly there is the feeling that he can not run to them fast enough, does not hold them tight enough, and does not explain to them in words how much he loved them, how much he desired their integrity, and how he loved his life, as it was before them, never, never wanted to get back. When he starts the car in the late afternoon and takes one last look over the bay, he knows that he will never come back here. Here, a father has lost his sweetheart, and that he himself must not be in his place today, he will be grateful for his life.

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