Her mother always laid out in the sun, always reminded us to apply our SPF 50s, always had cold water at the ready. The sand was hot. The sand was like stepping on fire. But we placed our reclining beach chairs along the smooth white surface, allowing the heat to hug our bodies until noon.
We’d break for lunch, eating slowly, moving slowly. Swallowed our packed turkey and tuna fish sandwiches and nibbled on potato chips, relishing the salt. We spoke of the September dread; back to school, back to class schedules and assignments and pining for holiday breaks.
And though school was still a while away, we’d miss what wasn’t gone.
The humidity peaked around 3’clock; we’d grab our flip flops, tighten our bikinis, re-apply sunscreen and walk to the pool by the gated fence. We talked about which guys we liked and how we weren’t getting anywhere. We talked about which guys were giving us unwanted attention. Came with the territory of being fifteen.
Small boys and girls kicked and splashed chlorine onto the faces of those who just sat at the pool’s edge, feet dangling along the shallow end. We were those people, until finally, after more conversation, after more sun, we decided to go for it. Jump in. We shrieked at first, at how the water was freezing and unbearable, but after we submerged under the surface, we relaxed. We realized that, actually, it felt kind of nice.
After we swam, we’d find the ocean. We figured we were wet and sticky and our hair was already tangled; the salt water wouldn’t do further damage. My feet felt burnt on the sand that felt like fire.
But then we’d see the blue sprawled out and it appeared infinite and dazzling. We’d walk the beach and sing pop songs.
Is it all or are we just friends
Is this how it ends with a simple telephone call
You leave me here
With nothing at all
I’d lament about my (possibly) unrequited crush. We wondered if the back and forth between him and I will ever go past that summer. (It did.)
And when the late afternoon sun gave us a nudge, we made our trek back to the cabana. Time to pack up. Time to put the day behind us till we come again.
If I ever pass Nickerson Beach, I recall those summers at my friend’s beach club. The beach club was a summer home for us, encompassing repetition day in and day out. But it was repetition that I needed; it was repetition that we craved. Never tiring of it, never minding.
Basking in what could only be described as innocence.