I was sitting on the beach feeling completely in love with this place. I loved every drop of this magical blue water, I loved this sand and these tiny stones which seemed to be all different shapes and colours. I loved spending time on the little balcony and having my morning coffee with the most incredible sea view. I loved counting the stars on a clear night while hearing the waves splash against the rocks. I loved breathing this unique summer smell which caused tears to form in my eyes every time I had to leave.
I had to leave again. The day had come. I had to say goodbye to Corfu island and take a plane back home. Home… I felt more at home among these smiling people who I saw every day at the beach and in restaurants. I felt at home with my husband when we spent time in the little garden of our summer house. We’d wake up late and feel the warmth of the sun entering through the little window. Of course, a part of me was convinced that I had to come back to the reality, to work, to my responsibilities. Summer, with all its pleasures, was over.
I decided to walk on the beach that morning. So here I was, sitting next to the water and enjoying the warm touch of the sun. I closed my eyes for a second to enjoy all the sounds I could hear. There were seagulls flying around, relying on just the wind. They were free to go anywhere in the world, but they were here. And I was so jealous. If only I had the chance to stay on this beach with them. If only I could spend every day in my favourite place in the entire world.
I opened my eyes and looked around. Tourists were coming to the beach already. More and more people were bringing their towels to catch the morning sun before it was too hot.
I noticed a little girl in a red hat. She was dancing next to the water and laughing. She was so innocent and sincere that I couldn’t stop smiling. A woman, apparently her mum, went to her and took her hand.
“Mummy, I want to stay for one more hour,” the girl said.
“No, darling, we have to get back to the hotel on time.”
“But I love this place.”
“I know you do, sweetheart, but we have to go home.”
“I want this to be my home,” the girl said, defiantly.
The mother knelt down and put her arm around the child.
“Then it will be your home.”
“Of course. You love it, and love always wins.”
This was the moment when I realised I could change everything. I ran to the house to tell my husband what I’d thought. He listened to me carefully, but remained silent for a couple of minutes. Finally, he took my hand and said, “Let’s try.”
And we tried.
After a couple of years, in the place which used to be our summer house, there was a little hotel that welcomed tourists from all over the world. It wasn’t easy. And it was a big risk. But I wanted love to win for that girl in a red hat. I wanted her to feel at home, because she made me build my own.
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