I grabbed my handbag and turned. The door was only a few feet away – I could make it in five or six steps. His hand brushed against my arm, I could feel the firm fingers through my sleeve. I shrugged it off and kept going, focussed only on the door, on my one escape route. I might have made a noise. A balloon was swelling up in my chest, blowing bigger and bigger, about to burst. I dived through the door and into the cool evening air, letting it wash over my face like running water. I didn’t turn back.
They ran along the sand like a pack of dogs, their tiny soft feet kicking golden grains up and outwards. Dora in front, as always, Milo right behind her, and, trailing along, trying desperately to keep up with her siblings, was Ray. I smiled at the high, tinkling laughter that carried on the wind back to me, washing over my ears like warm water. Fierce as ever, little Ray tripped and stumbled along, her feet sucking and sinking, squelching in the deeper, wet sand. ‘C’mon, Mum,’ came the call from ahead, as three lithe bodies slowed. ‘Try to catch us!’
It had been a long, hard day, and Rhian’s feet were aching and sore. She had arrived home in a daze, kicked off her shoes and rubbed the calloused parts of her feet with a deep sigh. Her thoughts turned to the fridge, where she knew a lemon cheesecake sat, waiting. It was left over from a party, and Rhian knew she shouldn’t. She had even begged departing guests to take the dessert with them, clearing it from her sight and mind. But, it had been left, fresh, creamy and sharp, for her to devour. She went to the kitchen.
I waited four years to see a dolphin. I knew they were there – others had seen them, others who weren’t even bothered or didn’t care that much. I had been in University for three years, then stayed put in the coastal Welsh town to undertake a Masters degree, and still, not a glimpse. It was days before I was due to leave, to head back down South to the city, when I finally saw it. A slick black fin, breaking the surface of the water, then disappearing into the depths again. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.