The water is 18 degrees…Celsius. Cold, but the children don’t seem to mind as they charge, splashing into it. Every time they run up and back, their speeding feet fling sand high up into the air. Boredom, leftover from a morning shopping trip in the capitol fuels them. A summer afternoon on the beach is a good way to cure it.
The whitewash on the buildings along the strandvej is bright. The sun makes a good show of itself forcing warmth down through the clouds and onto the Danish coastline. Along the street, noise from a party spilling out of the Villa Rex fills the air with distant shouts and honking car horns. The Queen of Denmark is not in attendance today. There was a time, not long ago when her predecessors entertained nobles and royals in that same house. Their parties were much more polite, or perhaps not.
The children run up and grab him by the hand, dragging him across the coarse sand to the cold water of the Øresund. There is only one way to properly deal with water that cold…play. Play very hard.
Throwing a child through the air repeatedly is good exercise. Throwing a child while a another climbs on your back is great exercise. Then there is the breath-holding contest. The children give up quickly, but make sure he wins by trying to hold him under the water. They say they are just trying to help.
At some point between splashes and squeals, he notices her coming out the back door of the beach house. She’s wearing a simple t-shirt and skirt. She walks across the green grass of the lawn and he loses sight of her as she steps on to the beach. The children are begining another chilling assault of splashing water.
When he sees her again, she is seated in the sand, digging into her bag. He calls the children and together they run shivering onto the beach. She passes out snacks to the children while they huddle into their towels. She produces a stainless steel thermos from the bag, along with two mugs. “Varm te,” she says. Hot tea.
The mug heats up quickly, its warmth loosening up his chilled fingers. “Skål,” he says. She smiles, leans in to kiss his freezing lips. “Skål.”