Jaz was on a roll again, "Y'know what ? Do you remember when you were first down here ? You remember Paddy - the fisherman guy, or Jonno the lifeboat skipper who used to live up behind the shop ?"
Terry nodded, wondering where this was going.
“I used to really idolise those guys – never told them as much, but I really did. Wanted to be one of those leather-faced old men of the sea one day. Don’t even know how old they were – probably only as old as we are now, but I was just seventeen or thereabouts and there was something quite amazing about them. You’d see ‘em standing on the sea wall or over on the cliffs; they’d gaze up at the sky, looking at the seagulls winding and swooping their way ‘round. Giving it that endless stare. They never looked fashionable or as if they noticed that the world changed ‘round them. They looked like they were rooted into the sand, part man, part brine, big old sweaters; good gear mind you – none of that surf shop shit.
Anyway, yeah, big old boys with faces that looked as if they’d seen the world and all its glories and decided that for them there was no better place than this. They’d all the wisdom of the ages stuffed up in those heads of theirs, leastways it seemed they did. Never said much, inscrutable, gnomic even. They were part of the world that seemed untouched and unmarked by all the fuss and bother that went on around them.
His face was stony, his eyes darted about as he stood by the table looking from Terry to Jaz and back again as he waited to get his breath back, he silently brushed aside a couple of comments that Jaz made about his age and turned his attention firmly to Terry.
Eventually the three of them left together, collars pulled up against the stinging wind and hands pushed deep down into pockets, trying to conserve the last of the beery warmth they were grudgingly surrendering. They half walked, half trotted down the hill as gravity helped them on their way. Past the whitewashed houses and down onto the flat stretch at the top of the beach.