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Christmas at the beach

Maximilian Decker

The wind howled, the waves crashed against the cliffs and although I had had my eyes closed, I felt safe. When I opened my eyes again I could see that it had gotten a bit less gloomy, yet there was still the morning mist of December in the air. I was sitting overlooking Warwick Long Bay, my retreat; my personal get-away at the top of the cliffs behind the little cove was my favourite place to be. I looked to the horizon and per chance witnessed how the first rays of sunlight greeted the new day. I always seemed to be lucky in the sense that I was there when something unusual, fascinating or even completely breathtaking happened. This suited me well as I was trying to start a career as a photographer.I instinctively grabbed for my rucksack planning to retrieve my camera from it, only to remember that it was no use. The lens had recently been broken and I had had no financial means of replacing it. My sister had apologised for the incident, although it wasn’t her who had broken it but a friend who failed to come forward and confess. I sat transfixed admiring the stunning sunrise. A good half an hour later I managed to extract myself from this spectacle, I wiped my eyes. They had glazed and I reassured myself that it was due to the wind, although I knew that it was because I had lost a part of my dream.There are a limited amount of items which truly play a role in life. They are those which help you live your dreams and ambitions. Without my camera I lost part of my defiant drive, my adventurous ambition to find the hidden beauties in a lucrative life. Yet I couldn’t be angry, just sad.Having climbed back down I made my way to the parking lot. As I dragged my feet through the sand, still lost in thought, something small got wedged between my toes. Slightly agitated I stopped to remove it, I couldn"t believe my eyes. (Something almost as beautiful as the golden morning skies.) A small delicate ring with a diamond at its centre, it looked like a trumpet flower of exquisite beauty. I yelled with excitement, “Hallelujah”This had been exactly what I needed; I could easily finance a new lens with the ring! I looked around suspiciously to see if anyone was watching me but the beach was deserted apart from an elderly couple. I studied them to see whether they had seen me, this was a turning point for my thinking. They were walking arm in arm, smiling, giggling and sometimes outright laughing. Everything about them was heart-warming and incredulously wondrous; two people who had lived so many years of life together and still enjoyed every moment of the gift they had been blessed with. Love. I looked at the ring and it dawned on me that this ring was a symbol for this gift and although it wasn"t what the love was built on it was important and emphasised the everlasting bond that love makes possible. I knew from that moment on that I had to find the rightful owners of the ring. “Trevor & Denise“The names had been inscribed in the ring; I placed an ad in the Lost & Found section of The Royal Gazette and got a phone call in the early hours of the next morning from the owners. Trevor sounded nervous and excited, a good mixture I thought. He inquired whether it would be possible for me to come out to their home in Warwick and I readily agreed. I myself had become quite enthused in this quest and skipped breakfast, in order to leave immediately.Although my excitement was great, I took special care to keep my speed down on the roads. The home of the couple was pink in colour and had a beautiful and well kept garden. I felt nervous and was a little afraid although I didn’t really know of what. I walked up to the door, was about to knock but then dared a glance through the window first. I almost fell, which would have been a shame for the flowerbed. What I saw had taken me off-guard and made my knees buckle. I couldn’t explain why the sensation came over me but I was exuberantly happy.I had seen the couple from the beach inside, they were hustling and bustling about in the kitchen unable to hide their excitement. My last doubts were diminished, I knocked on the door. After what seemed an eternity the door opened. Trevor and Denise stood there laughing and smiling, the feeling of love and caring was so strong that I stammered to find words, “is-is thi-this th-th-the ring?” I asked handing over the ring.Denise just looked at Trevor, they were both beaming. The silence was warm and only broken after the amazement had worn off a bit.“Thank you son,” said Trevor, “how can we repay you?”“Give the boy some money?” suggested Denise, whilst inspecting the ring.“No, no thank you,” I said firmly. I didn"t want a reward for what I had done. It was evidently the right thing to do. The thought that I needed the money only came to me later, which pleased me as I had learned that money was no match for the things a life with love had to offer. “Please understand, seeing the two of you so happy and satisfied with life has made me understand how blessed we are to have love in our life. Christmas is about spreading this love, about giving. It"s not about getting, so let this be my Christmas gift for you.”“Very well,” agreed Trevor.“You"re not getting off that easy with me,” said Denise, she bent forward and gave me a kiss on my cheek.On my drive home I still felt euphoric, I had finally understood. There is no greater gift than love. Christmas is the best time to spread this love and I knew only too well that at home my family was waiting for me.The days that passed were some of the most bliss I"ve had. The whole family would go on walks together, watch a family movie or just enjoy a pleasant dinner. Sitting in front of the blazing fireplace with a hot chocolate admiring the Christmas tree was something I could never become bored of.On Christmas morning my sister woke me in the early hours of the morning. She showed me some clothes she had laid out and whispered, “We"re going somewhere special, don"t ask just come quickly to the car.”I was downright confused. I dressed and sleepily walked to the car. My mother, two brothers and sister were all there, only my dad was missing. We all piled into the car and drove in silence. I wasn"t entirely sure whether the others knew where we were going but I didn’t ask as not to spoil the surprise. We pulled into Warwick Long Bay. I was completely baffled as to what we were doing here. After the car was parked we all got out the car, my dad’s bike was parked in the lot as well. My mom signaled to follow her and walked towards the beach.Once on the stairs down to the beach I saw my dad. I saw ... something incredible. Something people always say about Christmas in Bermuda when they have never been to Bermuda. There was a Christmas tree planted into the sand with all of our gifts underneath.“Christmas on the beach?” I exploded in excitement. Everyone laughed and we ran down to greet my dad. We sat down on towels and sang one or two Christmas carols. Then the tension was too great to wait even another second. Each of us took a present; we all looked at one another....“NOW!” screamed my sister. We all started tearing the paper off the gifts and in this exact moment the sun"s first rays of light greeted our family wishing us a merry Christmas. I looked down at my gift and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the lens I had longed for so much. I looked up to see my sister smiling at me.“I couldn’t stand seeing you so upset. When you told me the story of the wedding ring and the couple it just showed how much you deserve to feel your passion of photography. I took your story as an inspiration and wrote a story for the Christmas Short Story Contest in the paper and won the money you needed for the lens!” she explained.I was speechless and embraced her tightly. I had no idea how they had got everything here, but it didn’t matter to me, this Christmas was as perfect as a Christmas can be. My heart was a furnace of emotions only waiting to warm the hearts of others who needed it.