Picture This…

…you’re sitting on the beach in the dark. It’s the early morning of a moonless night and the sand is wet underneath your towel.

The wind whips off the water and a few flecks of spray strike your face. A droplet lands on your lower lip and you reflexively draw it into your mouth. The salt of the ocean is as fierce as the waves that relentlessly crash onto the shore in front of you. The sound is almost deafening but that’s okay; it washes away the errant thoughts that usually cloud your mind.

You’re here to watch the sunrise; it’s a while away yet but the sky has started to lighten.

The great expanse above you is dotted with points of light; so much so that the blackness of the night appears almost purple to your eyes.

You’re small.

Tiny.

Smaller than the droplet that leapt from the ocean onto your lip.

But you’re not alone.

To your left and right your friends press against you. Their arms touch yours, shoulder to shoulder. Their warmth is yours and vice versa; together you brave the pre-dawn chill that has settled over the beach and together you wait, blanketed in companionable silence.

The Earth moves and you move with it and the stars disappear one by one as the Sun begins to paint the sky.

From deep purple bleeds a soft pink; drip by drip it spreads over the canvas that floats above the ceaseless ocean.

The Sun creeps closer, steadily dispensing light in front of it. As the pink of the sky is replaced by a golden hue, the lighter colour stains the water beneath it and suddenly the ocean is a sapphire stage.

At first, you think your eyes might be playing tricks on you.

The golden glow that has suffused the few clouds hanging above the horizon seems to fade but wait-

There.

A disc of mottled orange peeks onto the stage. You dare not blink; this is the only time you will be able to look at the Sun directly.

But something within you draws your gaze away.

You glance to your left and then to your right.

Your friend’s eyes sparkle in the dawn. Their faces bathed in the softest light. Smiles on their faces.

They are beautiful.

For a moment longer you watch them, your head turning slowly from side to side.

At last, you look back at the Sun in time to see it arrive fully, no longer creeping, no longer uncertain; it marches onto the stage and announces itself proudly.

You can’t look directly at it.

But that doesn’t matter.

You lean back, cradled on either side by the steady presence of your friends, and you smile.

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