There's nothing on land but suspicion and the chatter of children. The sea's quite a different matter.
When he was a boy he loved the sea. He'd go out with his father on the boat and search the depths below him for a glint of gold, a glimmering jewel, that he might be able to salvage from the wreckage of some desecrated ship. Such innocence, such health and robustness, he could hardly recall now - as the sand ravishes the shore, age and drink had left no survivors in his aged face, no kindly remembrances of the freshness of youth - but the memories remained with him, of his father and the blackness of the sea and the ripples which carried him, smiling, as the miles reeled out ahead across the blue. All history now.
Maybe that's why he hated it - History, that is. History was the tale of big happenings, the fall of the twin towers, or the death of Marlowe, or the Boston tea party - it was unconcerned with how the women cried whilst the towers burned and fell, or how the writer lost the words for the first time as he bled, or how the men laughed as the crates met the sea in perfect explosions. History is a date, or a fact, not a tear down a child's face or a smile as the sun sets on something momentous. He'd never been cut out for it. He could never achieve such detachment as would be necessary.
He found himself walking away along the sand, towards the sea. He could only imagine how the party were looking at him, how the dark-haired woman's jaw set like stone and the children watched with bated breath for the next of his eccentricities. He didn't care. He wanted to throw himself into the water and be carried away. It would let him float as he travelled a thousand miles over blue plains, waving at every country he passed by. He would come out on the other side of the world cleansed by the salt and nobody would know his name. The sand against his feet would feel like diamonds.
It's no wonder a man turns to drink and neglect when he can't be here, by the ocean, looking out to distant rocks and unknown pieces of land. Now he is, he feels light, like the breeze could carry him away. The water on his toes feels like a kiss. The gulls above are singing to him now, they want him to swim. Over the waves, in the sky miles away, he can see a patch of blue and light casting fragments of gold onto the water. In the distance the sea is still and quiet as it drifts from the shore.
His heart in his throat, he turns back to the sand and returns to his party on the concrete.