She sat on the bench facing the water. It was cold, slightly windy. Yet she loved facing the water, being near the water.

‘I love seeing the horizon. The water moves. So do the clouds. But the sand—oh, I love the feel of the sand on my bare feet.’

She could see the blue water, the blue sky above.

A young woman in a printed, pleated, pink floral dress was running, her long, brown, wavy hair flying in the wind. Holding a hastily made paper kite tied to a string with two gas balloons. One pink and one blue. Laughing at the young man following her.

Their laughter carried over the waves. She continued running. The man behind her did too. She stopped, still laughing, still holding the kite and the balloons, the strings of which she now tied around her right wrist. This was another of their crazy dates. In broad daylight, and surrounded by happy families picnicking on the beach.

She could see the picnic mat—food pots and pans and paper plates. Hats, bats and balls. Children running on the sand. Sandcastles. Children in the sea laughing, giggling. Children crying too and being consoled. There was happiness in the air. Nothing mattered at that moment. Just life—pure life. For the simple. For living. For loving.

They both fell on the sand. People watching them. Smiling. Good to see a couple in love.

Suddenly, she found him kneeling in front of her. She had expected it. But not like this on a beach. Not in her simple, floral printed, pleated pink dress, bare feet and running, her hair flying about. No makeup, nothing. Such a simple, simple, simple girl.

He, a highflyer, in a blue open collar shirt, blue jeans, looked into her soft brown eyes. Sitting up, she looked into his deep blue ones. Then she said yes. And he undid the strings and let go of the kite and the balloons. Up they rose. Into the blue sky.

People clapped to a public proposal, publicly. Later, the two returned to their homes, to their lives. They told their families. Their delighted families welcomed their news.

Time passed. Until the day she saw herself in the mirror. Beautiful on her wedding day—just a tendril of her hair floated deliberately on her face; the rest of the hair was packed neatly in a bun. Her white lace dress was dreamy. Her eyes were dreaming. A life before her waiting. She saw it all. It was going to be a fairytale future.

She closed her eyes and imagined what it would be. A warm house. Full of laughter and love. Children playing. And then? There would be the grandchildren. Near her knees all the time. Asking her questions. She saw herself in a chair, knitting. For another young person to join the family.

She felt a hand on her shoulder.

‘I have brought you some tea, my dear,’ he said. ‘Would you like to have some biscuits with it?’

She laughed as she opened her eyes. And looked at him. His light blue shirt. She loved blue. He had glasses on. She had removed hers. She could not see him well.

‘Why don’t you join me for tea as well?’ she asked.

‘Gladly,’ he said.

‘Would you like some biscuits too?’

Both took a biscuit each.

She looked at the water again. And closed her eyes. She opened them suddenly and laughed. Very happy with herself.

‘You seem very happy with yourself,’ he said, his own laughter bubbling up.

‘Yes, I am. Can’t you see?’

‘I can. You’re laughing.’ he said.

‘Should I stop then?’ she asked.

‘No, no, please don’t. Hearing you laugh is magical. But tell me why you’re laughing.’

He took her hands in his own and looked into her eyes.

‘Because I saw a glimpse of the future’, she said.

‘Oh, that must have been beautiful. What did you see?’ he asked.

‘I don’t think you need to know. But I will tell you, anyway. A glimpse of the future,’ she repeated confidentially, confidently.

‘But who are you?’ she asked, confused, reaching for her glasses.

A tear drop fell on her wrinkled hand.

He saw a glimpse of their past.

  • Maffy V