he sits in his ragged shirt.
it is unbuttoned, and the wind is slinking across his chest and into the sleeves. yellow shoots of scorched grass press into the backs of his legs. a surfboard lies beside him. he runs a brown hand through brown hair, pushing it off his forehead and behind an ear. he is callused and dry and sunburnt and windswept; eyes red from the salt water. his lips are chapped. there is skin peeling above his collarbones.
teetering on the outskirts of his thirties, he left his home at nineteen, and never went back, drawn to the sea. he epitomised the traveller: unruly and brashly confident, warm with charisma but isolated. he blazed across the world, sometimes quietly, adrift to people and unanchored to time. he smiled and thumbs-upped his way into backpackers and three star motels and out again, into cheap meals and free rides–
there are seagulls croaking at him.
he throws a handful of sand at them, then looks guilty. the breeze runs hot, unkind fingers through his shaggy hair. the fabric of his shirt winces away from it. he has to pick up his son in an hour. but he only stares at the ocean.