A Walk On The Beach
It was the same old deal, every single summer. My mom would plan a “great family vacation.” This vacation always seemed to consist of the same people, same activities, and the same old beach. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a nice escape, away from the quiet hushed suburb that I live in. Unfortunately, this one escape that I get to embark on once a year has become more of an uneventful routine than anything else.
First comes the part of the trip that I dread the most. It’s the car ride. My whole family all crushed into an average sized car isn’t quite the place I would prefer to be in. Driving with his sunglasses on, that would be my step-dad. Right next to him would be my mother, already applying her sun lotion, although we still have more than an hour left of the drive. To my left would be my thirteen year old brother Adam, reading a comic book that I gave him long ago. To my right is my other brother Mark, he’s sixteen, just looking out the window trying to take a shot of the landscape outside with his camera. I don’t really complain too much about anything, I deal with whatever I have to deal with. Of course I, Paul, always get stuck in the middle seat, which is without a doubt the most uncomfortable place to sit. While my brothers have their own pastimes to keep them busy, I always seem to be the one cramped in the middle with nothing to do but ponder about anything there is to think about.
Following behind us in a quite miniature two-door car is my stepsister Danielle and her friend Michelle. Like I said, I don’t kick and scream about anything, but having someone I don’t know living where I am for a week sort of bothers me. If she is not half the pain Danielle is, I believe I’ll be able to cope, and possibly survive.
My mom owns a beach house only a block away from the shore. I get out of the car and first thing I feel is the remarkable refreshing breeze. It’s a cool breeze. As I took a deep breath, I could smell the scent of the salty sea water.
There is just something about the beach that makes me content. There isn’t much back home that makes me feel this worry free. Well, yes there is music and sports, so I guess I should say there is nobody that helps me just forget about my worries, even for just a minute. The beach is the closest thing I have to relieve my stress in a way that just makes me feel joyful. Truthfully, I prefer being alone. I don’t want to bother anyone with my problems; I’d rather just deal with them on my own. They probably have their own share of problems to deal with anyway, why bother them with mine?
Every night I take this solitary walk on the beach. I walk along the path where the waves fade and softly drift on the sand. I wonder about a lot of things, school, family, sports, and even a special someone. No, I do not mean that I have a special someone; I just mean I wonder where that special someone could be, or when I can meet her. At the same time part of me has this internal conflict where half of me wants to meet someone and the other half finds it unimportant.
So every night I get into these certain zones on these walks. It’s just a few sounds that I hear, only the water and the distant soft sounds of voices and music from the boardwalk; I feel like I’m in my own world. It’s me and only me. For all the years that I’ve gone to this beach, it has been this way. I get to be in a place where it makes me feel quite happy, alone.
It was one summer, one single summer that changed all of this. A summer that I thought would have been like any other. To my surprise, it wasn’t my thinking that changed things. In fact, it was somebody that changed it all.
That one summer, it was the usual scenario. I was walking on the beach, wondering why everyone would rather be walking on the boardwalk when you could be walking on this calm cool beach. It was weird, I was the only one walking but of course I could hear the many voices from the boardwalk. I could hear people screaming on mini non-thrilling rollercoaster and children whining and crying for unnecessary reasons. I began to think of when I use to come to the beach when I was a little kid. Now I am eighteen and see things rather different. I was remising the time when my mother gave me a dollar to play a claw game. The case was filled with mini footballs and I really wanted one. I dropped the claw down to get it, hoping that I could catch it. To my disappointment, the flimsy claw lifted empty. I began to cry and whine, now comparing the sounds of children that I was hearing at the moment to myself when I was younger. I didn’t know what was important than, and neither do they. That’s just being a kid. Everything was just fun and games. I was deep in these thoughts, in my zone until I heard something. I heard something that I was never use to hearing when I was having these walks. Somebody called my name and weird as it sounds, I smiled the second I heard it.
“Paul! Wait up!” Michelle yelled to me from a distance. I went back into a serious face and then turned my head back. I didn’t say anything back to her. I just looked at her, I was waiting like she asked me to. She was still by the boardwalk where I could clearly see her from the lights shining around the crowded area. There was something about her, possibly her unique style. To me everything ends up just being a clichÃ©, but even yet with her something still was different. Her hair was different, her clothes were different, and even her actions seemed unique.
She was jogging to me. It was such an imperfect, somewhat funny and sloppy jog that made it adorable. I felt like I was starring so I looked towards the beach still waiting for her. After what seemed like ten minutes she lightly touched by back saying, “Hey! Why are you always here, every single night? Why don’t you come with us to the arcade? We had the best pizza last night, do you like pizza?” She unconsciously threw a bunch of random questions at me and gave me no time to answer any.
I just looked at her, then at the boardwalk, then to the water, then back to her. I said, “And why don’t you come to the beach at night? To me it’s the nicest time to be here. It’s relaxing.” She looked up at me and giggled.
She responded, “I come here during the day, I enjoy it when it’s light out so I can actually see, then at night I spend my time doing other things. You gotta do a little bit of everything to live it up.”
I replied, “I live it up right here, just fine.”
She looked at me even more deeply. Her eyes actually mesmerized me. She told me, “If that’s what you like, that’s awesome. You know, I know you probably do all this thinking about whatever. Trust me, I think about stuff too. You have to know though; you’re not going to just learn everything on your own by just thinking of what you already know. You have to do things, and you have to go and meet people, have some fun.” I looked down at her and gave her a smile. It was sweet what she said, and I never even considered that, she was right. She grabbed my hand, my heart stopped. She was still looking at me deeply and she said, “Paul, come with me, for one night let’s just have some fun. I know it’s not like we know each other very well but come on. Come with me to the boardwalk and let’s have a good time. Let’s go do what we use to do when we were younger. Let’s go stuff our face with junk food and waste countless amounts of money in the arcades.” I gently tightened my hand with hers as a sign of approval. I saw she was happy with my reaction by her perfect smile and her shining eyes. She grabbed my hand, locking us together as if she would never let go and she started running with me towards the boardwalk.
That night with Michelle was unforgettable. We laughed together and we shared stories together. We went to get pizza and it was great, which answered her question if I liked it. It was outstanding, or maybe it was just being there with her. We went to the arcade and played the dreadful claw game. I actually won this time. Michelle wanted this little teddy bear and I promised myself that I’d win it, it was the least I could do. She didn’t know, but it took me about ten tries until I could get it. I hid it behind my back and then presented her with it. She was so happy about it, she took it from my hand and jumped and hugged me. For the first time, I felt like life was truly perfect. We went on rides together and she would hold my hand and tell me she was scared. I wasn’t exactly calm either, I didn’t ever really go on these rides but I would insure her it would be fun and that there was no need to be scared. In fact, these rides really were an amusement. It probably was because Michelle was with me. We were walking on the boardwalk and I was hoping this night would never end. We sat down on a bench looking towards the shore and we had a long talk. We talked about our strengths and our flaws. We talked about our memories and tragedies. I trusted Michelle with all my heart. It was great spending time with her. It was everything I’d ever dreamed of.
On our last night of the vacation we took a walk on the beach together. It was exactly what I always did, but since she was there with me, it was a whole new feeling. It was the beauty of the beach and her wonderful presence. We were saying our goodbyes. She would be going back home after that night and I’d being to back to college. It was my last year going on this vacation with the family, and with Michelle. She told me I was special to her and that she had never met someone like me. Her words drove me crazy. I felt so radiant and refreshed from the dull ways and stress that I was use to. She was so beautiful, so smart, and so sweet. I know I would miss her dearly. She hugged me and I didn’t want her to ever let me go. We starred at each other closely and we could feel each other’s heart beat. She looked up at me like she always did with her lovely eyes and gently kissed me. She then started jogging away just like the day she first came to me. I watched her leave. I could hear the water, the memories from the boardwalk, and the wonderful echoing words of all the things she told me.
I will never forget that vacation and I will never forget her. She taught me things I never recognized. I don’t know if I may see her soon, or again. All I can do is sure hope I will. I know that she will always be in my heart. Even though it may be over, she taught me things. The things she showed me I will always remember. I know if I could, I would have never had it end. If it were under my control I would have kept her with me forever. What I can keep forever are the memories and what I learned. I know that night was the greatest time I have ever had. I’ll never forget that perfect state of euphoria that I was in. I went back to college feeling refreshed and different. Whenever times get rough, I close my eyes and see her, and I smile.