³⁴On the Southern shore
After a while, a man sat down, close to us, and asked if we had cigarettes. He was wearing a golden crown made of paper, like the ones that come in food packages for children.
I wasn’t sure if I heard correctly, I said no and smiled.
We continued to look silently at the sea and he started to read (or pretended to read) a crumpled copy of a free newspaper. A little bit later, he got up, took his foldable wheelchair with him and went a bit further down the shore. He took his t-shirt off and rolled his jeans up to his knees. I thought only one of legs was wooden, but as he stretched out, I noticed that both of them were; he had uncovered them, as if to tan.
He might have been restless (or happy) because he soon got up again and went closer to the water, leaving his stuff behind. He started to do push-ups, but as he had gone too far in, he was being continuously swallowed by water. Each time a wave would crash, he would spring up; he was not fast enough and soon his clothes were totally soaked. As waves unfurled regularly onto the shore, he didn’t have enough time to do more than a few push-ups each time.
He must have gotten tired of this because he went back to his belongings on the shore and started talking with someone who had sat down close by. My mother said :
“Maybe it’s a friend waiting for him.”