It is colder on the beach than I thought it would be. I am glad of my mittens. Ivan gathers stones and I do, too. I choose the flattest ones I can find, and then I hurl them out into the sea. My stones skip across the water. But not all. Some just fall down down to the bottom, and I try not to let myself feel disappointed about this. They are only stones. It is no big deal.
Ivan is better than me at skipping stones. His throws never fail to bounce at least four times. I have been watching. And counting. I try to emulate his stance when I throw my own rocks, but I can’t quite get it. At least I am warmer now. The flurry of activity has got my blood pumping around again. We keep collecting rocks and throwing them out to sea. It feels like with every rock I throw, I am emptying my head a bit more. I look at my stack of stones and imagine it is my brain, full of worry and hang-ups and fears. One by one I throw bits of that away and watch it sink below the waves.
Ivan steps towards me and bumps me, pretends to want to knock me over. I grab hold of him for support, but he already has my arm, and I feel stuck, but not in a bad way. I feel immoveable, like not even the strongest wind or the biggest truck could budge me. Ivan is completely in my space, closer than he has been before but I feel okay just being there. I think about resting my head against him. My empty head. But I just stand still and he stands still and we both stand still on the beach, and the waves crash to my left and his right, and it feels like something just happened that neither of us is aware of yet.