‘Come and get me!’ Cara shrieked with a bubble of laughter.
‘I will,’ came the answer as a wave ran up the beach, chasing after her heels. It caught up in a froth of spray. ‘Gotcha.’
Cara squealed, jumping up and down in the retreating water before sinking her knees into the wet sand.
‘Hush,’ sang Wave as it returned to the sea.
‘Shhh,’ responded Cara through her teeth.
Wave returned, caressing her knees.
‘You’re warm,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you stay here with me? You keep going away and I want to chat.’
‘I go away but I come back again. And I don’t go very far.’
‘Can you still hear me when you go away?’
‘I can always hear you.’
‘Why do you hush the sand?’ Cara said. ‘Are you asking it to be quiet?’
‘I could never hush the sand,’ replied Wave.
She dug her fingers into the ground, scooping up a sloppy handful of gooey sand.
‘You have the whole world in your fingers right now,’ said Wave.
‘Really?’ Cara said as she examined the mound of gloop in her hand. As she watched, tiny jewels of light glittered within the sand and a shrimp-like creature shuffled to the surface before jumping off towards the water.
‘If you put your hand down, I can take it away,’ said Wave. ‘Then I’ll bring you something new.’
Cara placed her hand in the water and Wave washed the sand from her fingers with another ‘hush’.
She watched as Wave left her, only to push forward again moments later, this time bringing her a shell. Cara plucked it from the surf before it was dragged away again. The shell was round and empty with a spiral on top. She touched the tip of the spiral. It was sharp! She licked it – salty! Her little finger just fitted into the empty hole. The shell danced as she wiggled it in the air.
‘Hush,’ said Wave.
Cara took the shell off her finger and laid it back on the ground. The colours in the shell matched the colours in the sand - red, yellow, orange, brown, green, blue…all the colours of the rainbow and everything in between. She hollowed out some sand and nestled the shell in the hole. Then she covered over the shell until just the top of the spiral was showing. She looked back at Wave.
‘Hush,’ sang Wave as it returned. ‘Where has it gone?’
She looked back at the sand and could see no trace of the shell, nor the hole that she’d made.
‘Magic,’ she said.
This time a long, brown piece of seaweed was lying next to her. She picked it up and wrapped it round her legs like a blanket. It had tough skin and curvy edges which she traced with her finger before carving the same shape into the sand next to her.
‘Hush,’ said Wave and the sand patterns were gone.
‘Would you like this too?’ asked Cara, wriggling out of her seaweed blanket.
‘Hush,’ replied Wave and the seaweed rushed away.
Cara stood and walked up the beach to the dry sand. She could see her seaweed bobbing gently out to sea.
‘Hush,’ murmured Wave.
‘You can’t get me up here,’ she teased.
‘Not right now,’ Wave answered.
Cara looked back at where she’d just been sitting, but there was no longer any trace of her.
‘It’s like I was never there at all. You’ve washed it all away.’
‘You’re never washed away,’ said Wave. ‘Something always remains. And you’ve given me so many gifts - patterns, shells, seaweed…’
‘But you gave them to me!’
‘And then you gave them to me.’
‘But my patterns are gone.’
‘The patterns aren’t gone. They’ve just found a new expression. I can return them to you if you like. Here, look.’
Cara watched as Wave crept up the beach towards her, leaving a curvy line of foam by her toes.
‘My pattern!’ she laughed. ‘Well, actually it was the seaweed’s pattern. I just copied it.’
‘And now it’s dancing your pattern,’ said Wave, showing her the seaweed twirling and swirling in the deeper water. ‘We all share the same patterns, dance the same dances, sing the same songs.’
Cara twisted her body round, waving her arms like the seaweed. ‘Hush,’ she sang as she moved.
‘Shared gifts,’ sang Wave, retreating back into the sea.
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