New Zealand born (and now residing in Torquay with her family) Amanda Maxwell has written a lovely story inspired by a Hipkin photo shoot at the beach. We hope you enjoy her story...
Bonnie is eating rice bubbles when I ask her how she feels about dressing up and having some photos taken on the weekend.
“No, thanks,” she says. But she stops eating and looks out the window for a second, then says, “Wait. Will there be other kids or Japanese people there? If there are other kids or Japanese people, then yes.”
I check with Monique, my lovely friend who will take the photos. Her daughter Dulcie will come too. Dulcie isn’t Japanese, but she is a kid.
“She’s eight right,” I tell Bon, who is seven.
“Oooo,” she says.
At the beach, on Sunday it’s 12 degrees and getting colder fast, but as the girls run across the sand they shed layers. Their breath comes out in clouds of steam as they giggle and spin and jump, chatting the whole while. They seem completely free here. They’re in their own world, flying from the water to the dunes and running so far down the beach they’re out of earshot. We follow them, knowing we won’t be able to reign them in. Their energy is boundless. It’s pretty beautiful.
They pick up shells but put them back, hitch up their skirts and dance in the little waves, squealing. The sun is fading but it’s hard to drag them away.
Before we leave the beach we pile their layers back on, but when it comes to shoes they shake their heads and jump out of reach. They walk home in bare feet, looking forward to fish ‘n’ chips.
A week or so after the photo shoot I ask Bonnie if she can remember what she and Dulcie were talking about that day because they were chatting and laughing for hours.
“Cartwheels,” she says.