there’s a lovely calm at bondi beach in winter. quiet and serene. it could be because it’s monday and it’s the afternoon and everybody else is working. whatever the reason we feel lucky its crescent-shaped shore remains mostly empty, lovely and vast. we gulp in the sea air, all cool and crisp and salty, grateful to feel so alive, our skin tingling, our cheeks flushed. the sand is cold, but we take our shoes off anyway because that’s what you do when you go to the beach. soft like icing sugar, filling the gaps between our toes. we keep our jumpers on even though the sun is out and regret not bringing a thermos filled with hot tea, because then everything would be perfect. next time, we promise ourselves.
a tiny flotilla of black-clad surfers bob up and down, oblivious to our stares. the swell rises and falls, generous enough to give some of them a wave, but not all. we keep our gaze fixed on the sea, our breath content and sighing, we are happy. it’s the right time of year, will our patience will be rewarded? we wonder, hoping to one day talk about that time we saw a whale or 2 at bondi beach. most of the people in our sights are tourists taking photos, capturing memories to show their friends back home. ‘look’, they’ll say, ‘i was at bondi beach!’ and the friends will ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and show the right amount of envy, looking at all the pictures. some girls, all pouty-lipped and perfect hair pose for ‘selfies’, as the waves behind them crash on the shore.
we see a couple sunbathing, we think they might be irish, or english perhaps, because it is 17 degrees after all. we think of the beaches in ireland during the dead of winter, and of those that flank the english channel, lashed by wind and rain. but ‘in the dead of winter’ doesn’t apply to us here, not in sydney, not this year. the sun is out, the sky is clear, and everyone knows you can still leave the house without a coat as long as the sun is out.