My toes tingled, sinking into the damp sand as the soft waves kissed my feet, coating them with a thin layer of refreshingly cool salt water. I watched the horizon, the last pale coloured rays reflecting onto the water, glimmering through the evening air. I tossed my flip flops behind me, noticing I was completely alone, nobody around. It was better that way; I was left with just my thoughts. I could almost hear the wind whispering valuable advice into my ear, it’s not your fault, but I chose to ignore the wise words, instead overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of melancholy. Although I gazed directly at the clear ocean water, all I could really see was the door slamming, Mum’s tears flooding our new burgundy carpet. He’d left. Just like that. The bitter arguments had been leading up to it for months, but somewhere amidst my childishness, my naivety, I’d never thought about it actually happening. He would never actually leave. My own father, the very same man who’d first brought me to this beach, lifting me up high so I’d bounce me over the waves, whirling me around lovingly. I pretended I could fly; I was on top of the world. When did that world come crashing down? In the past years, he’d never once agreed to come to the beach with me. “I’ve got work darling.” He’d smile and lay a tender kiss on my forehead before heading into his office and shutting the door firmly behind him, giving me one last insincere look of affection. I’d come alone, watch the broad smiles of other children, hear their overjoyed laughs as they built sandcastles, look on as they fell into the sand after a hectic chase, the beams never leaving their faces. I’d watch the sunset through a blur of tears, trying to convince myself that he’d come another day. He never did. I’d come home, flinching as I tiptoed up to the door, already hearing the yells. I’d cautiously let myself in and sprint up to my room, locking the door behind me, only wanting to lock out the screams, only wanting to be a child once more, only wanting to have the perfect family. The sudden crash of the waves shocked me out of my trance as I wiped tears of guilt from my cheeks, swiftly spinning around, turning my back on the ocean, the sunset, the beach and the life I’d had before. Things would never be the way they were.