A cheerful cry mingles with laughter in the air as my feet hit the soft sand, grains digging their way in between my toes, the one piece swimsuit hugging my tiny child's frame, as I chase after my brothers, who now are standing at the edge of the sea. They wait for me, and when I arrive stand either side like bodyguards, father's words echoing in their heads.
"Look after her."
Together we step into the freezing cold water, lapping around my bare feet, sending shocks through my body and making me squeal, leaping backwards to escape it.
My brothers share malicious grins, grabbing me by the elbows and lifting me up, strength enough between the two of them to carry even a laughing (just) four year old into the water.
They lower me into the sea, which washes around the top of my legs. A yelp from me, because its so, so cold, but now the shore is too far from my little legs to wade back to, and I allow my body to get used to the cold, wet sand beneath my feet, which sink slightly in, though not enough for me to go any lower into the water.
Suddenly, its warm, not hot, but warm, as the waves crash around us, my brothers commanding me to jump as the waves approach, at the right time to the white beasts lift me up and carry me, carry us, the three musketeers, a battle against the old woman made of water and foam and life, life life life!
My oldest brother's voice is raised to combat the roar of the wild Welsh sea, above the laughter and yells and sequels of those around us, the sounds of children and adults alike having fun, enjoying themselves in this rare bit of sunshine.
To me, it translates as childhood, as family, as fun and joy and sea and…and…
And my first memory.
My first memory of being carried to the sea by my brothers, of being told to stay here as they walk deeper in, their torsos disappearing below water, heads bobbing, rising with waves, as I do too, jumping at the right moment, no longer needing the chants of "now….now...now" from my brothers, but doing it by myself, the right moment to be caught and carried alone, a small speck surrounded by so many people but at the heart of it alone because I waned to come with my brothers as my parents sunbathed and now my brothers have gone further in, I wanted to feel older by coming with them but I feel my little bit more than three years as I can go now further.
A longing to see my parents and I turn, looking for them on the beach, fear gripping me because I can not see them among the multitude of bodies because they are just small specks on the beach and oh no where are they where is my mother and my father and my brothers are too far out and I cannot see them and I hear one of them yell my name but then I see my father, moving quickly towards the sea and now in sight and unable to register the fear in his face I raise my arm in a wave and smile, smile, before something hits my back and pushes me down and everything's black, it's too dark down here and for some reason I can't really understand what's going on, don't realise that a wave caught me and I didn't jump.
A/N: Semi-autobiographical, based on what little I can remember of my first memory - written as part of a writing exercise at a course in Ty Newydd, had to write about something to do with the elements, based on real life and this is what I came up with.