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By Rebecca Brae

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2010, BraeVitae Inc.

When you lose someone you care about, their smile, their heart, their warm hands always seem a breath away—as if you could look into a crowd and see them disappear like a wisp of smoke among the milling faces.

It was like that, one humid summer’s day in Beer, UK. My husband and I had stopped in this lovely seaside village for a night, unable to resist its name. We relished the opportunity to tell people we had slept in Beer. I could already see my father’s grin. But as we explored the striking Jurassic cliffs and winding streets, we fell in love with the area and decided to extend our stay.

It was our third day and I had set out on my own, expecting to while-away a few hours in the sun with a book I promised myself I would read and somehow never managed to finish. When I first snuggled into my colourful beach chair, bird song and lusty ocean scent poured into my soul like a restorative tonic. As morning passed, the joyful cheers of playing children and the ever closer cries of hungry gulls distracted me from reading.

The crowds grew and I found myself putting my book down more frequently to watch the dazzling array of humanity spread out around me. I watched each person’s face as they arrived for that moment when the beach cast its irresistible spell. There was no stack of bills to prioritize here, no co-worker dumping unfinished tasks on my desk, no household chores staring at me. There was just the beach and sea and an ocean of strangers to whom I owed nothing. The moment newcomers tilted their faces to the sky and breathed in the essence of the beach, the realization that they were free took hold of their minds. Everyone was a child on the beach.

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