Waking up three teenagers is never easy, especially when the reasoning behind it is to visit a beach. Beaches are nice don’t get me wrong. But being at a beach with your family when you’re 16 is by no means the most enjoyable experience. My father woke us up at four o’clock, a dreadful hour when your body still aches from a deep slumber. Gradually we awoke, stretched our limbs for a moment only to have them crammed back into the mini-van. I got stuck in the back with our littlest siblings who, unlike my two other sisters, waited anxiously to set off on this new adventure.
My brother smiled up at me. He had come earlier with my parents and found a conk shell. After putting my ear up to it and not hearing the ocean, I had overwhelming doubt for this place.
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We slept most of the way, my parents conversing quietly in the front while my brother held his conk shell with the tightest grip. Then suddenly everything got extremely hot. Our skin boiled as the sun seeped through the windows on our still ripe skin. This was our first trip to the beach that summer and we had forgotten just how unkind the sun could be.
These usually anticipated words were now a dread. Being the oldest, I made the first move. Rip it like a band aid I thought. But as I prepared myself for the worst, I quickly felt a wave of bliss. It was beautiful. More than that, it was what every beach should look like. The ocean spanned out for miles, as most do, and the waves crashed ever so subtly on shore, just enough for a good surf but not threatening to the average person. The sand was crisp and clean, not a speck of trash in sight. And the water! A faded blue, like denim jeans. At times, as the ocean calmed over, you could see a tone of green and then a wave, blue again. I ran towards the beach. But reality hit just as I neared the end of the dock towards the sand. It would burn. However, the sand, warm to the touch, surrounded my foot like a blanket. It made its way between my toes and the crevices of my feet. These were the same feet that ached after a long day at school and now I had no feeling of pain at all. Seagulls pranced overhead and a fence divided the sand and pastel-colored houses.
This beach was more captivating than any other. I was outside the realm of reality, trapped in a world of solemnity and peace. Adults rode their bikes on the sidewalk. Teens soared amongst the waves. Now and then a small plane would roll past. A gust of wind delicately tingled my skin, gesturing I move towards the water. I dipped my foot in. A rush of coolness. A refreshing contrast with the warmth of the sand. As soon as one foot went in, another followed, and then I had made my way completely into the ocean. I lingered on, the water casting me out further and I willingly followed. Over the horizon the sun began to rise. Shades of pink, burnt orange, and yellow dazzled above the sun. And then the sun started to move faster, climbing up the sheet of sky. Grinning, I glanced back towards my family. There they were, in the ocean too. None of them close to one another. And yet none of us were alone. In this moment we had each other.
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