There he is, out in the garden, fork in hand, digging for potatoes. Here he comes, great earthy hands outstretched, offering red jewelled berries from the redcurrant bush by the gate; chuckling at my face as I wince from their sharpness and reach for another. I can still hear him, clearing his throat, paper on his lap, the sound of cricket and static coming from the portable radio. My Grandad, sitting, eyes closed, face to the sun, on an old dining chair outside his shed with his tea going cold. I remember.
Clearing his shed, years later, we found a bootlace strung with stones. Ancient talismans with water-worn holes from the relentless caress of streams and currents. Tiny monuments to the passing of time, unearthed and kept as trinkets. Grandad called them "Wish-Stones".
There I am, alone on the beach, grey sea, grey sky, grey stone in hand, feeling the weight of the past. I hold it up to the horizon, put my eye to the hole, frame the future and make my wish.
Here it is. My bootlace, strung with talismans of my own. "Find me a wish stone!" I call. My children run to me, bright eyed, tiny hands outstretched offering sea-worn treasure ready to string; chuckling as I hold them up to the horizon and we make our wishes. Here I sit, eyes closed, face to the sun. The sound of my husband and children playing by the shore washes over me; our past and futures strung together, wish-stones in the palm of my hand.
...and I remember.