We drove for hours, through the heat, blazing sunshine raining down, heating the sticky tarmac of the motorway. Queues, windows wound down, heat rising in a haze, mingling with exhaust fumes. Countless different radio stations, drifting out of open windows, boxes of sound and lanes of chatter. Aviators in wing mirrors. Fingers tap in the roof, arms hanging out, sunscreen on. A silver bird around my neck shines and plays in the light.
Driving on, quick then slow then quick. Cars peeling off one by one until we near our destination. A slight salt on the air, golden pinks painted and splashed across the canvas of the sky, sun setting, the promise of good food and good cheer. The road now almost empty, stretching out in front, gleaming black, ever onwards. We slow, we stop, we breathe.
Later, full from the meal and smiling with local brews, we pick our kit from the boot. Pitch blackness looms on the horizon. A faint green glow is our only light. Warm breeze and calls of nocturnal birds meander around, echoed by the rhythmic crush of waves against sand. Punctuated by silence, by unspoken words, by time ever present.
We pick our way down an overgrown path. Brambles, unseen, scratch at our bare legs. Moths flit in front of us, guiding our way. We crunch onto the sand, still warm even at this hour. Grains between our toes, at long last. Our eyes sharpen in the darkness. We pick a spot, dropping our bundles to the floor. Stand still, cocooned by inky blackness. A duvet of dark. The atmosphere clings to me, thick yet clear. We look up as tiny silver pinpricks of light pop into existence, one by one and then all at once. Countless stars. A world away from home, a view we’ll never forget.
We climb into our sleeping bags, lying on sheets of plastic on the sand. It’s warm, even now. I fold my arms behind my head, relishing the cooler sand against my skin. I let my eyes relax and gaze upwards, ever upwards.
The Milky Way lies above us. Billions, trillions of worlds, spheres, dust, wonder. I feel as though I am falling, small and insignificant, miles and years away. The waves provide a backdrop, crashing along the coast, near then further away as the water rolls along the coastline. Sea birds chatter quietly to each other. A bat whirls and twists overhead, outlined against the glittering, jaw-dropping skies.
We hold hands. We sleep, lightly, opening a sleepy eye every now and again, as if to confirm it was all real. We drift off again. We are changed.
We awake early and watch the blackness turn to deep blue, then through a pastel spectrum- purple, green, turquoise, peach. Finally a hint of that familiar light blue, before the sun peeps majestically over the horizon, a blood red, golden, life giving appearance. We pad around the sand, hair tousled, eyes sleepy yet shining with life. We look at each other and understand.
We cook together, plastic flavoured tea and beans and bacon and rolls, peppered with sand as expected. A meal never tasted so good. We watch the tide slowly making its way to meet us, silver and gold striking the surface like a million diamonds, playing and glittering and filling the scene with light. We are quiet.
The world wakes around us. We wake in the world.