A Touch of the Ocean

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I almost touched the ocean and my little heart throbbed away with mounting excitement and extreme anticipation as I watched my much longed for dream unfold into reality, right before my eyes. It was really happening this time round, I could feel the adrenaline rush through my veins. And then I woke up. I nearly cried. It must have been the fourth time I was falling asleep on that spongy back car seat, although this time round I found it extremely hard to, for the air was literally too thick to take in. I couldnt understand why I was sweating uncontrollably despite having all the car windows open. It was too hot and humid, all at the same time, even though it was almost evening. I looked to my little brother to see if he in any way understood the ordeal I was suffering through, but to my surprise, he lay soundly asleep on my mothers lap, save for the three hundred or so beads of sweat that had now gathered on his small forehead. Mum and dad didnt seem to be having it easy either in their front seats. Dad had only his vest on, having taken his shirt off, yet his vest clung so closely to his body, as though for dear life. Hed had to buy a flannel along the way with which to wipe off the sweat that streamed down from his brow. Mums chiffon dress aped dads vest as it faithfully outlined the curves of her body. They were clearly gasping for air as well. I felt all grown up now, enduring this harsh weather with the adults.

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I had also become acutely aware of all the noise and bustle on the road. The annoying hooting from the collection of cars that seemed parked on the road as a result of the ridiculously heavy, unmoving traffic. Trucks, buses, pickup trucks, saloon cars, vans, bicycles and motorcycles alike, each honking away on a different note, youd have been forgiven to have mistaken it for a musical performance. Not to mention the pedestrian traffic as everyone hurried along to their unknown destinations. Countless sellers lined up the already filled up road with their merchandise, as each tried to outsell their neighbor, by calling out more loudly for customers. I remember developing a new respect for them, after picturing the pain of having to stand in the scorching sun for a minute, let alone having to sell under it for a whole day. Whod have thought the South Coast would be this busy?

Arent we there yet daddy? I asked, almost in tears now, having been stuck in traffic for what seemed like ages. Had I bothered to look at the car watch, Id have realized that only seven minutes had elapsed. But even if I would have, I knew that adults would never understand how much more slowly time elapsed for a child! Yet being the patient man that he is, with a warm and pleasant smile on his kind face, he did not tire to answer for the umpteenth time, that we were almost there. How much longer did I have to wait until I could feel the sweet water of the ocean on my feet? I wondered if it would be as exciting as it had seemed on TV. I remember watching, green with envy, as so many happy looking children my age swam and played in and by the ocean. They seemed to be lost, each in their own little world, as some braved the splashing green-blue waves and dared to float on them! I really hoped I would be counted amongst the few fearless who could tackle such a herculean task. Others, afraid to take on the waters, made towering castles in the sand, so skillfully crafted. Mine will have four corner towers, where the guards will keep watch all night, a huge centre castle that will be my abode, a chapel where I can go to pray every Sunday and an arena, where Ill get to watch knights as they display their fighting prowess. Plus I cannot forget to have a moat that will secure my mighty castle all round and a movable footbridge for which to cross the moat. This I thought, as I gave myself a pat on the back for the ingenious castle design. I looked over my shoulder to the boot of the car to confirm that the requisite tools for this noble mission were in place spade and bucket check!

I had to check in with dad one more time, just to be sure that he wasnt going to change his mind about us going to the beach, especially since the sun had now begun to set. I couldnt bear the thought of having travelled all this way, a whole days trip and not touching that dreamy ocean. I would rather fall sick than to bear through such an unfortunate ending. Of course that wasnt well thought through, for how would I have swam had I been sick? Having grown up by the country side all my life, knowing little else other than the bleating of sheep and the mooing of cows, not to mention that old familiar smell of freshly dug up brown earth; there was simply no way I was going to miss out on this chance of a life time. Dad knew better than to disappoint a cranky four year old.

Then right before my eyes, as though by magic, the breathtaking beachfront begun to unfold. I had to pinch myself countlessly this time round just to ensure that I wasnt dreaming. And this time I wasnt! Words can barely describe the beauty my entire being beheld. The ocean looked like a shinny, dancing sheet of multicolored paper that had been stretched into the horizon. It looked remarkable as it reflected the now fading rays of the golden sun. The sun seemed to be halfway tucked away under this glossy sheet, creating around it a reddish-purple hue in the sky. I could see some whitish waves splashing away in the distance, while those near us gently lapped against the shore. The sea breeze gently kissed my cheek and I knew I had been kissed by the wind! The shore was covered with this brilliant white substance that I assumed to be sand. Id never seen anything quite like it; it looked like grains of wheat flour poured out on the ground, only bigger and glittering, as it devotedly reflected the suns rays. In the distance, I heard the seagulls joyfully sing their song away. The TV had done little justice to bring out what I was experiencing at the moment. I was spellbound.

How and when we got out of the car, I knew not, but what roused me from my daze, was the inexplicable feeling that ran through me when my little toes came into contact with the warm dazzling sand. It tickled, and pricked gently all at the same time, it was almost as though it was saying hi. With the way my heart was pounding in my little ribcage, I knew I had to touch that ocean, lest I faint out of anticipation. I ran to the ocean, faster than my little feet could carry me, for I fell and rolled over a couple of times, but nothing was going to stop me this time round. Would it be warm or cold, inviting or unwelcoming?, there was only one way to find out. Then I stopped right before the waves, breathe baited, blood rushing, heart thumping and with all I had, jumped right into the clear water! I could have sworn that the waves embraced me, for nothing had ever felt so pleasantly delightful in all my four years of life! I thought a touch of the ocean would be fun, I was wrong; it was magical!

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