Earlier today, I lay under the sun for hours, watching the waves and drinking pints of golden beer, one after the other—almost lost count of them and track of the hour. Well, at least until the bill arrived, but that matters little. What matters is that I was completely present in the moment I will now remember forever. Every breeze that blew across the beach was felt in earnest—felt, recorded, and remembered. Every lash of crashing waves was heard, the echoes of which will remain etched into my memory like the grooves on vinyl. All I need is a moment to read them carefully; all of it will play in all its glory without a stutter or hiccup. But how could I afford this moment? Three of my friends had gone in search of a football. One was out in the sea taking a dip. It was a window, and to be honest, I had written this entire passage then. I had not jotted it down, but the sentences were arranged as if they were the metallic type form in some old-school printing press. The only thing that was left was to press it onto a page.
When my friends finally returned, we played football with complete strangers on the beach. Of course, this was expected. Things are always mostly as simple. A few people go to the beach with a football and start kicking it around. Before you know it, the ball is kicked astray without intention and entirely in error. But then, someone kicks it back and asks if they, too, can join. One by one, this happens until enough people join in, and goals are drawn in the sand, flimsily demarcated with flip-flops. The game begins. As I said, this is nothing new, but when it happens, you do not compare it with when it happened last. You do not say, “The fun we had that day was better than today.” You never say things like these because joy is joy.
Lately, I have felt incredibly attuned to the present. I had no doubt today that I would be at the same amount of peace had I never come to the beach. It seems, I have come across the incredibly commonplace realisation that wherever I go, I will still carry all of myself with me. Only now is it not as difficult. Often, I forget I’m carrying something at all.