Part Six of The Unseen Sea
Grandad Lucca is walking on the shoreline with his grandaughter, Jessica. The beach is made up, mainly, of pebbles, twinkling black and white in the morning sun, but here and there are wide patches of sand. It is on one of these that Jessica pulls Grandad’s hand, urging him to stop.
“Grandad?” she says in that lovely, innocent voice. “Can we play the circle game?”
He looks at the shining face, set amidst locks of golden hair. It is far too early in her life to play the real circle game, and he doubts he will still be around when it is not.
“Yes, of course we can play the circle game!” he says, kindly. “Do you remember how far we got with it?”
Jessica runs to get a stick she has spotted. Using it, she begins to draw a remarkably good circle in the sand. As she is about to close the last quadrant of the circle he laughs and interrupts her.
“Don’t forget you need to decide if you’re going to start inside the circle or outside!”
She looks up, puzzled, for a second, then laughs with him, remembering. “I think you should decide, Grandad!”
He looks across the few feet and considers what to do next. The air has become expectant with potential. He knows there is something of great importance, here. “Well, then,” he says, shuffling backwards, stealthily, on the sand, and hoping his voice will hide the sly action. “as you are closer to your own circle, I think you should be the one inside it…”
Jessica looks down at the gap and puts the thumb of the hand holding the stick to her top lip, giving serious consideration to the decision. “But, Grandad,” she asks earnestly, “didn’t we say that once you were inside you had to stay there to be safe?”
He looks at her, his eyes brimming with love. “Well, yes, we did,” he replies. “But we can make up the rules for our own escape, surely?”
She thinks about this. “Why do we close it if we will want to escape, one day?”
It’s a really good question, he thinks. It’s probably one of the best questions she will ever ask. Grandad Lucca crosses the distance and helps her though the gap and into the circle, taking the stick from her as she crosses the invisible line of the undrawn arc.
“Because something special can happen only inside the circle,” he whispers to her. “and not outside it.”
Jessica angles her head, looking as though she knows something important is happening.
“What’s really inside the circle, then?” Jessica asks.
“Why, you are!” he says, laughing. He paces out the partly drawn perimeter. “But you must choose,” he says, holding out the stick so that she can take it, again, if she wishes. “for it will be your circle, and you must decide if you really want to be in there…”
Grandaughter looks up at Grandad. “And you will always be there?” she looks at the gap she knows must be closed. “On the outside?”
He watches as she uses the stick to close the circle, nodding.
“And you must always trust that,” he says, reaching through the invisible but present wall and taking her hand, in the way that only grandads can.
Although she is now inside the circle, the light in her eyes is joyful. She knows that grandads have been around for so long that they know everything… and she trusts that.
Three billions revolutions of the planet around the sun ago, LUCA realises she is alone…
End Part Six.
Read the previous parts of this series:
©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2016 images and text. All rights reserved.