Matilda giggled gleefully as she used her yellow plastic shovel to scoop more of the wet sand into her red bucket. When it was full, she lifted it carefully and went over to where her father was lying beneath the heat of the sun. Dark sunglasses shielded his face.
Her laughter could be heard across the beach as the sand fell onto David’s bare stomach.
Matilda was surprised when he didn’t move. She could see his chest rising and falling with his breath, but he did not flinch as the sand covered him. Giggling again, she went to fetch more wet sand from the edge of the water.
From beneath his sunglasses, David smiled as he watched his daughter fill the bucket a second time. She walked back to him and unceremoniously dumped the sand on his chest. He held himself still, watching her return to the water’s edge a third time. This time she abandoned the shovel and simply scooped the sand into the bucket by sliding the rim along the shore.
She walked back to him. She wasn’t paying enough attention this time. Right as she started to dump the sand out of the bucket, he sat up and grabbed her ankle playfully.
“Aaahhh!” She screamed, startled and delighted.
“Got you!” He pulled her into his lap, tickling under her ribs until she was breathless with laughter.
“Stop! Stop daddy!” She shouted with a smile. He stopped and she remained in his lap, her body convulsing with contained laughter. David wrapped his arms around his little girl and held her close, her hair filling his nose with the salty smell of the ocean. Her arms were warm from the sun, her legs already darkening. He could feel her nestle her small body closer to him, her feet buried to her ankles.
David watched the sand start to move, and suddenly he could see her toes wiggling. Her toes, each painted a different bright color just that morning, poked through the light sand. He felt her sigh and lean her back into his chest. Her bathing suit, the one she loved because it had purple polka dots and a ruffle of a skirt, was still damp from their earlier attempts at body surfing.
“Yes Matilda?” He took another whiff of her salty hair, which had lost it’s rubber band and only the top was still braided. He felt a slight disappointment. Braiding her hair that morning had been a chore; one he’d been proud to have finally accomplished.
“I love the beach. We should live on the beach. But you know what I love even more than the beach?”
“You.” She turned into his arms and hugged him tightly. He kissed the top of her damp head and held her close.
Then she stood and ran towards the foam of the waves, giggling and shouting and fearless. After a moment, David joined her.
This piece was written as a part of my fictional work-in-progress, Finding Agnes. You can find more from Finding Agnes here.
Red Writing Hood is a weekly writing meme from the Write on Edge community. Constructive criticism is appreciated.
This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt: It’s the first full week of summer here in New England, so to celebrate, take 450 words and write about sand. Whether it be beaches, backyards, or hourglasses, think sandy thoughts and come back on Friday to link up!
Photo courtesy jocelynsart. It has a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.