I do not want to get into a discussion on the
Gender of God. Normally I use unique pronouns with capital
letters: He, His and Him. I apply them to no-one else and, apart from this allegory, never think of Gender.
After revisiting the seat, I felt a unusual compulsion to descend to the beach and I could hear (in my head) the little lad's strange language. Even warm sunny Saturdays in August brought few people to this beach. On a miserable day like this, I was quite alone, except for his voice and it clearly translated into the instruction to look for a stone. But more than that was not translatable.
She sat down on the edge of the prom and, from her appropriate elevation, loftily announced I shall help you. Then someone else came up behind my new friend as she struggled out of her skates. It was Grandma, the pushchair and the compassionate little lad, though more warmly dressed today. Grandma fished in the voluminous bag on the back of the pushchair and found some plimsolls and handed them to presumably little lad's big sister. And she, having slipped them on, scrambled down the steep sea wall. What shape is it?, she asked as if she regularly helped strange men find lost stones. But the question was entirely rhetorical and I wasn't at all surprised when she said: Is this it. That is because all my surprise had been already used up on the manner of her search, criss-crossing the beach as if it were flat and she a competent skater, despite having taken her skates off!
I could hardly say No, I'm afraid that isn't the right one, anyway she knew that I knew that she knew, that it was indeed the right one. And she handed it to me with the same pleasure as if it had been a lost gold watch. Mission accomplished, she ran up the sea wall and began the long struggle back into her skates. I too went up to the prom. She was rocking back and forth, tugging and heaving at her skates revealing grubby knickers and multiply grazed knees. I concluded that both had arisen from frequent and unplanned forward and backward encounters with the concrete on which she now sat. Having finally got her skates back on, she handed her plimsolls to grandma and then sat for a while with her hands in her lap and looked thoughtful.
Grandma pushed and little lad waived.
I was left with a rather unprepossessing pebble, although it did have a hole in it, clearly a special pebble, but not, as a translation of little lad's message came to me, a magic pebble. I returned to my chalet and made myself a cup of coffee. I put the pebble in a glass of water, thinking it might brighten up a bit, even though it had been washed by the tide twice a day, possibly for centuries. As its name implies, my seaside retreat receives few seaside visitors, but I was not surprised when later, after dark, someone knocked at the door? I went and opened it, holding my fifth cup of coffee of that evening. Grandma it was not, but it could have been Granddad! Although, as it turned out, he had no connection with my earlier friends. Nor indeed was he old enough to be granddad as became clear when he came inside to the light. He was in his late twenties, rather short, had a beguiling smile when he held his head up, but was otherwise bent forward and shuffled like an old man. A bald patch was clearly visible in the centre of his head. He said nothing, just looked at my cup. Come on in then, I said, unguardedly. He sat at the table where the glass with the pebble was. I went to the kitchen and made his coffee. Our conversation was rather laboured and it was clear he was very depressed. But as we talked, he seemed to brighten and when he stood up to leave, having borrowed twenty quid, he was upright and had a definite spring in his step. I can see you're a bit of a rogue, I said patronisingly. He turned as he stepped into the night, and replied: yes but a loveable one, and he was gone.
When I went back inside, I noticed that the water in the pebble glass had been drained and I assume he drank it while waiting for his coffee. Perhaps that was what the pebble was for?
I still have the pebble, but like the little lad said, it is not magic. But maybe miracles occur when we do as we are bid, regardless of how simple or apparently irrelevant. One impression of the three I met remains: Grandma and the helpful little girl were so alike that they could have been the same person (at different times of life)!, somewhat like a female version of what Patrick depicted in his picture Son of the Boy.
And the little lad? I'll leave you to think about Him. As to the visitor to my chalet, you can find him on this site too.