a story about my father

Once upon a time
We went on one of our adventures
Scarborough, Bridlington
Filey or Flamborough –
Somewhere with sand
And greenish blueish northern sea.

The beach was full of things to discover
But the tides trapped us:
We started to return
And found the waves had met the rocks first
Stranding us in a horseshoe of stone.

To the left, the sea.
To the right
Ahead and behind us
The cliff.

You went up first
Plastic bag of food in hand
Showing me a trail to safety
Probably made only for goats.

I followed anyway
Sometimes on my hands and knees
Eyes up, determined to be brave
Like you.

You never crawled
You didn’t fear the drop.

I remember, vividly
Balancing on a path no wider than my foot
The cliff dropping away on both sides
And I was too stubborn to call for you
Too frightened to distract you –
What if you fell?

Anyway, we made it.

I think I held your hand in relief
And we laughed the laugh of avoiding death
And on the drive home, we agreed
Never to tell my mother.

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