I remember taking refuge in the crowd. The movement and sound and smell. It was one big body on that beach that was breathing and laughing and singing and screaming with joy and delight. Moving in and out of the sea. Strolling along the shore and running and playing where the pillars of the pier stood up high and tall from the sand. Young couples kissing and hugging, like no one was watching. And maybe no one was watching. A ball would fly by. Sand got kicked up. Wasps found their way to trash bins and soda bottles. Children yelling out with high pitched voices as the next wave would pick them up and gently set them down again. All were absorbed in ones own delight. And I was fully absorbed in this one body and just as delighted with pure joy as the next person on this beach.
I had been asleep most of the afternoon, lying on a beach towel I had found a couple of days earlier. Left behind for no obvious reasons. It had a colourful scene depicted on it with lots of red and blue, white and yellow. A boat sailing over some blue waters filled with seashells.
The sun had burned my face a bit. Now I was sitting up and watching how families were packing their things. Everybody slightly sunburned and tired. There were still some ghetto-blasters out there. Mostly with kids, dancing, drinking some, smoking. Having fun.
Kids… They were my age, but from another world.
As the sun was setting already, it got chilly really quick. I shivered and rubbed my arms. Apparently I had fallen asleep again. I was a bit cold and hungry. Thirsty too. I got up from my towel, shook out the sand, rolled it into a nice roll and started to head back to my bunker. It was loud and noisy at the Boulevard. It had to be a Friday again, the start of the weekend. Clubbers collecting outside their favourite bars and beach clubs. I stood still and looked on for a while. Then I turned and walked into the dunes.
As I approached my hideout, I heard noises. Voices, music, laughter. It made me cautious and I approached more carefully, walking up the last dune before I would reach the bunker. When I reached the top of the dune and looked down, I saw there was a small party of youths right outside my bunker. They had lid a spectacular bonfire and were playing music and were dancing. A boy came walking out of the bunker. Arms full of firewood. My precious stash of carefully collected firewood. I crouched down. Sitting here on the top of the dune, watching those kids with the fire, hearing their music, their exuberant voices. It was enchanting.
They were drinking heavily. Eating crisps and baguettes. Eating each other. Passing on smokes, I assumed pot. A couple of them sneaked off into a shielded spot. Soon enough they were entangled and deeply occupied with each other. Moments later another boy joined them. He was welcomed generously.
I was fascinated. I was horrified. This scene going on in that dune hole right outside my hideout. The camping lamps, the beer crates, the music, the love scenes. The young ones. The bonfire. All in itself harmless and innocent enough. They were having a very good time, all of them. Carefree kids having a beach party. That is all they were.