Monday, April 30, 2012

Rough Tides

Happy Monday. Here is my Snapshot from the Writers Wednesday blog hop hosted by Nicole Pyles. If you want to join in, click here for details.

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Life ringRough Tides

No one parked straight in the concrete lot. It rarely mattered since no one else came to this beach. People thought it was too rocky and the tides were too rough. There were softer sands and more predictable water a few miles down the highway.

For us, it was perfect. Laughter filled the sky with our arrival, startling gulls away, but only for a moment. They knew we brought food and that we often got caught up in a game of ball or some sort of chase, giving them ample opportunity to snack on a few sandwiches.

There were ten of us today. The girls grabbed bags of towels, the baskets of food and the CD player while boys struggled with beach chairs. I watched Connor from the corner of my eye as he approached Leslie. Everyone knew he was going to propose to her today out in the water. It added an extra energy we needed to keep up the joy.

This would be our last trip to the beach, at least like this. It would be the last time Travis braved the sawgrass to grab the flotation donut off the old, faded safety sign and pretend it was a steering wheel. It would be the last time Rachel snatched it from him and tossed it Frisbee-style to Tammy who would somehow squeeze her skinny frame into it and wear it like a belt until two or three of the guys wrestled it off her.

The food was spread out, but it would be ignored for the most part. Jess and her boyfriend Sam manhandled a blown up mattress from the back of her SUV and they threw it out of the water. It was immediately pushed out and person after person fell with a laughing scream while they tried to use it as a diving board.

I walked the beach, a bubble separating me from the laughter and fun. There, Sam was grabbing a sandwich, dripping salty water over the rest of the food. Connor was proposing to Leslie who started crying, nodding furiously in answer. Analeigh nudged Jess as they watched the two kiss from the bobbing mattress. Others played football in their canvas shoes. Alice called to me for a game of volleyball.

I was leaving for Princeton tomorrow. It was a few hundred miles north off the same ocean, yet it might as well be half way around the world. I'm losing my friends just the same. Tammy is certain we'll stay close with the Internet, but I know better. Up until now we have shared everything. Once we leave this beach, our lives will start to diverge.

I think only Garret feels the same way I do. It is the first time he brought his camcorder. I will ask him for a copy of the video before we leave.

Alice called again and I smiled, rushing ahead, Garret's lens following my desperate steps toward the last moments of childhood.