Water’s Edge

3 November 1974

DINNERTIME. He should have been home by now. Sent out to look for for my little brother, I checked out his most likely haunts, asked around, until I found myself tiptoeing on the edge of the Old Pier thinking the worst. The tide was high, only a foot or so from the level of the stonework, the water so vast and grey. From that vantage point, I had a good view of the shoreline in front of the Dunollie Hotel and the Garage, but not a brother in sight. The temperature was dropping fast and my tummy was rumbling. Just as I pondered whether I had done enough to justify going back to the house now, an invisible pair of hands shoved me into the drink.

Feet first, I plunged into the dull ebb. Within seconds, panic had engulfed my senses, eradicating everything I had ever learned from Mrs Weir. The first ascent back to the surface seemed to take an eternity; every attempt to come up for air and scream at the top of my voice only increased the likelihood of being pulled back under. With every gasp, my efforts felt more and more futile.

Matchstick people streamed from around the Garage and the Dunollie. Voices. A loud splash. Then a pair of strong arms taking hold of me and pushing me into the waiting arms of someone else standing by the water’s edge.

I recognised my rescuer straight away. The owner of the Harbour Grill, still in his chef’s whites, had saved my life. By the time I was delivered to my parents, my brother had showed up. After dinner, I was treated like a princess and tucked straight into my parents’ pre-warmed bed.

What a way to start my birthday. Tomorrow I would be six.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2020


  1. V.J. Knutson says:

    What a memory. Image a five-year-old be left to her own devices near water nowadays. Surprising we all survived.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mkmacinnes says:

      We were the ones that did! I’ve heard a few stories of sheer carelessness from back then that would make your hair curl. As they say, there but for the grace of God … check out “A Toddler’s Tale” (there’s a bit of a pattern there). Still, these days kids are prisoners compared to what we knew.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. V.J. Knutson says:

        I remember being left to my own devices (mostly locked out of the house). The pendulum has swung to the extreme, I agree.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. mkmacinnes says:

        Sending you a warm hug ❤

        Liked by 2 people

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