She is standing sentinel when I round the corner. A still figure in the early morning, dark parka pulled close. A girl-shape on the edge of the reef, cast in relief by the lightening sky. The background blue eases, as I look, from deep-water to a lighter colour, capped with white clouds. There’s no doubt it’s Else, though I hadn’t realised she’d left the house. Maybe she was too young to head out alone; she never would have in town, but down here …
It’s our back beach, hers. Else knows her way through the national park and around these coves—along this Southern Ocean shore—better than the back of her stimming hands. I imagine them from where I stand, still, on the distant dune: agitating the air, worrying the waterproof fabric, which habit must’ve made her grab—unless the dark garb was something else? Working the puffer’s down like sand gradually, granularly, shifts to reshape the coast.
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