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Heaven on Earth

Thursday, 30 September 2021  | Elijah Kruiskamp


A father leads his son to the shore. The bay laps calmly against the sand, its smooth, glossy sheen reflecting the purple light of the falling sun. The boy hesitates, uncertain. He watches with round eyes as his father kicks off his shoes, gently ushering the boy further and further towards the sea.

‘We can’t go swimming.’ The ends of the boy’s words curl, forming a question, and he stares dumbfounded as his father moves purposefully closer to the water, wearing full length pants and a shirt.

‘We aren’t going to swim.’

Dropping his son’s hand, the father walks out onto the gently undulating surface. His step is firm across the water, a mark of practice; of faith. He turns and kneels, facing his son with arms stretched out. His hands wave towards himself, clearly saying: ‘Well, come on! Walk out to me.’

The boy is speechless. How can water be both waded through and walked upon? Fortunately there are no wind or waves to push him asunder; there is only his father, still waiting with outreached arms.

The first step strikes wet sand, pushing cleanly through the water. He glances at his dad, but sees no wince, no hint of uncertainty. Only confidence and patience shine in his father’s eyes.

No longer attentive to his own feet, the boy marches out, keeping eye contact with his father.

Soon he breaks into a flat sprint, shooting across the surface of the water and diving into his father’s arms. Immediately he is lifted and spun around, tossed into the air and caught again, laughing all the while. They remain like this for a short time, dancing for joy on the surface of the sea.

They spend the fading hours of the day like this, watching the fish swim placidly under their feet.

Occasionally the boy begins to sink, but each time his ever-attentive father plucks him out and sets him firm on the ocean once again. Never once does he feel fear. Never once does he doubt his father is beside him, ready to help once more. Eventually they reach the middle of their journey along the sea and turn back towards home.

They make their way, following the line where the sand meets the sea. By the time they return to shore, the sun has well and truly set and the boy - tired from the exercise and the lateness - falls asleep with the gentle swaying of his father’s arms reminding him of the soft drifting of water beneath his feet.


Elijah Kruiskamp is a Year 12 student at Bayside Christian College at Langwarrin South in Victoria. Elijah was a contestant for the 2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award.



‘Father and son’ by scott1346 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, see here.

‘Son’ by StockSnap.

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