Nothing lasts forever

From the sand, the sea doesn't look so terrifying.

But take away the comfort of your feet firmly on dry land, then it is a different story.

How is it that the sea can look so tranquil and alluring, but underneath it's really a hungry animal ready to devour you, its prey?

That was just what Granddad's cancer was doing.

You'd look at him so content and placid, like a rock that cannot be moved, but underneath, just like the sea, a monster was waiting for him, slowly destroying him and breaking him until he would have nothing left to fight with.

As the tide washes over my feet, it takes me back to a time where there was no brutal torment, before I knew what it was like for my heart to break.

Granddad wasn't your typical grandparent.

A simple look or smile could tell you a thousand secrets all at once.

Words were not needed. This was Granddad's and my little secret.

We could craft our own conversations through faces.

I always knew the face for our sly biscuit feasts.

Granddad was forever slipping me treats - he'd disappear and you would hear the distant rattle of a tin or packet of biscuits being opened, and moments later he would appear in the doorway and give me a single wink.

This would be my cue.

I'd discreetly make my way to the door like a lion stalking its next meal, where Granddad would have already laid out the tin full of biscuits and the lolly jar, open.

My pockets would swiftly be filled until they were ready to burst and I would consume as many biscuits as my mouth could fit.

Of course they would always be biscuits with chocolate in or around the outside - Granddad's and my favourite.

We both seemed to have a sweet tooth that leads us to these hidden feasts.

Granddad was always up for a joke, mainly because he was always playing jokes on us.

I think that is why I decided to get him back one Christmas.

All of us kids had been down at the pond and had caught a fish.

It was while this fish was swimming around inside of the ice cream container that the idea came to me.

So when pudding came out, so did my container holding my fish.

I could barely contain myself. The antagonising wait made me feel like time had stopped, just to torture me.

But as Granddad reached for the container, my heart lurched forward.

The fish must have been in on the joke too, because as Granddad opened the container, it sprang forward, like a jack in the box finally being released after being wound up.

Granddad got the fright of his life and dropped the container.

The effect was as though a tsunami had hit the table and water was everywhere.

The poor fish was even mixed up in the pudding.

To this day, trifle has never looked the same. Nor has Granddad, because that was the last time I saw him.

The sea is a very captivating place.

You can walk for miles over rocks and never realise, because one spot is never the same as the other.

Behind every corner there are malicious tentacles that can work their way into every nook and cranny, just waiting for you to make one false move.

If I knew I would never see him or hear his voice again, I would never have let him go.

I would trade in a thousand days, just for one last moment to tell him how much he meant to me.

Granddad will forever be in my heart, because there will simply be no-one else like him.

Every now and then, I think of him and wonder if he will miss seeing me grow up?

He will miss every little milestone I make, but maybe somehow in his own little way, he will be watching.

Nothing lasts forever - even the sea can work its way through the strongest rock.


• Kaitlyn Roughan, Year 12, The Catlins Area School



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