The tide is coming in; familiar sights and sounds seem strange to me.

My seven-year-old legs wobble, feet sinking into the sand, seaweed between my toes. In my arms I hold a doll, with curly blonde hair and sea-blue eyes. It is neither night nor day;the light is white, sparse, as if, like memory, it can be whisked away. 

A cold breeze batters my face, exploding into my ears.


Against the sea and the sky he stands, trouser legs rolled up, chalk-white skin. He is smiling at me, the centre of my canvas. I wonder about his voice. I try to hear him, even a whisper, but I hear nothing.


I scream, the wind cutting out the sound, swallowing my sobs. I’m not alone. Someone stands beside me.


The man with the smiling face turns away, looking into the ocean. He has his back to me as the ice-cold water eats his feet. The further he walks away, the smaller he becomes, just like a figure from my doll’s house.