A Summer Memory
My Summertime Lullaby
I hear the seagulls squawking in the clear sky, anxious to swoop down to catch their next meal. It is noon and the beach is a bright rainbow of pink, orange and green towels. There is a colorful array of men, women and children in vibrant swimsuits. I smile. There will be plenty of bread crumbs and watermelon seed droppings to satisfy the seagulls' hunger. I hop out of the jeep and the wind sways my hair back and forth. The salty smell of sea water calls me to the ocean, whispering my name as if it remembers me.
I yearn to jump into the water while my mom and aunt set up and prepare the food at the picnic area. My dad promises to go in the water with me later as he lays down his towel on the sand. Almost instantly, however, the sun is closing his eyes and the breeze of the wind carries him to sleep.
I am still not confident in the water but the shrieking laughter of the other kids splashing in the ocean makes me rush to jump in, too. I slather sunscreen quickly over my face, arms and legs, breathing in the citrus scent while I wait for it to sink into my skin. Children are running and jumping excitedly away from the tide rolling in, afraid it will bite their toes.
I refuse to wait any longer. I slip off my orange rubber flip flops. The soft white sand instantly burns my feet. I dash toward the water on my tiptoes to relieve the sting. My body shakes when it feels the water but it cools me down from the hot summer sun.
I brave the intimidating waves, cautious at first, remembering my last encounter as it swept me off my feet into its outstretched arms. I take my chance again, giving in to the loud whispers that surround me. I can't tell if the whispers are coming from the ocean or the whistling of the wind but the sun is beating down on me so I accept the invitation. I find relief from the heat as the water refreshes me.
A rumbling roar warns me as I approach the deeper part of the ocean where the waves grow more massive, like protective walls. I massage my feet on the gravelly ocean floor. Under the blurry water, something slimy tickles my toes and distracts me from a giant wave rolling my way. It swallows me, crushing my body, tossing it left and right.
I finally recover from the violent waves but the water burns my throat. Embarrassed, I stand up to see if anyone noticed the water throwing me around like a beach ball. The salty taste of the water lingers on my tongue, forcing me to remember the strong spirit of the sea and how terrifying it can be when you let it overpower you. Relief rolls over me. I escaped unharmed. I return to land happy yet exhausted.
On land, the beefy smell of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers makes my stomach grumble. I rush to the picnic area, focusing on the pitter-patter rhythm of my wet feet hitting the sand as I run.
I gulp down a cup of ice cold sweet tea to refresh me and the last bite of my hot dog fills my stomach. I lick off the juice running down my chin from the watermelon I eat and am ready to relax.
Tottering back to my lonely beach towel, I lay down to soak in the sun and accept its warm rays. The ocean sounds calmer now as people begin to leave. My fingertips glide over a jagged edge of a seashell sticking out of the warm sand. I scoop the shell out. It is a white and peach-colored conch shell, hard and smooth in my hands. Against my ear, I can hear the tranquil murmur of the ocean trapped inside.
I forget about the violent waves crashing together. Now, only the peaceful whooshing sound of wind and sea vibrates gently through the shell. Unlike the harsh waves, it relaxes me and lures me to sleep like a lullaby.
Do you have a special summer memory from your childhood days? Are you fond of the sun and sea? Share your memories in the comments below. I would love to hear them!
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