"Down The Shore"
Her beautiful naked body is not what caught my eye when I found this photo. It's the perfect color of pink wrapped around her wet hair that reminds me of my mother's towels that hung in her bathroom.
It's the happy retro design of the umbrella that was shared in so many childhood memories of shirts and sheets. The old Canon camera with bits of sand on the lens. It is the wonderful feeling of tight, salty skin, warmed by the sand and sun, and the smell of Coppertone on my shoulders. The reminiscent tan lines and elbows dug into the sand, and the childlike swaying of legs and feet; rocking your hips and your mind into peaceful contemplation. A very distinctive, quiet place you go, that only happens here as you stare endlessly into the Atlantic.
I can hear the foamy ebb and flow of the waves as they crash over and over; an infinite gift from the gods. The seagulls are circling for snacks and the distant sound of a fuzzy radio and chatter are carried across the wind. All that's missing is my red one-piece and my family sitting at the water's edge in their low-seated, striped beach chairs; the waves rushing past their calves and thighs and under the canvas seats, receding back, only to repeat the gesture for hours, until they are folded up and rinsed off with palms smacking the water with salty splashes.
Then it is the familiar drop to the knees and slow belly wiggle onto the large, somewhat sandy blanket that my mom fought hard against the wind to have land flat and even; bag, books and sandals placed at each corner holding it down. Time for a blissful slumber until the sting of sand hits your face and you feel the slight heat on your back that tells you, you've definitely got a slight burn, that of course you expected, and in a weird way, welcomed. But the beach is empty now and the air is chilly.
It's time to pack it all up and walk the deep plunges of warm sand back to the thin pebbles on the hill that hurt your feet. Next, the hot tar that urges a quicker step and hop onto the sidewalk. A wobbly dance from one side to the other; wrestling your flip flop thongs through your sandy toes. A five minute walk and you're pulling the worn, creaky outside shower door with the spring snapping it closed. Turning the old steel faucets until you get the just right feeling of cold, but not too cold while pulling down your sand laced bathing suit that is suctioned against your damp stomach. The cold water between my legs feels invigorating and the pee you've been holding runs hot down your legs compared to the cold water washing over you. You take a nice deep sigh, with your eyes closed, mouth spitting out the very distinct Jersey shore water, and you know, this is fucking heaven.
A few more minutes and you will join the family, grab an iced tea and cop a squat on the weird, and not so comfortable, beach house sofa. But, you love that, too! There would be no other place that you would want to spend a moment in with painted panelled walls, ugly furniture and strangers sheets, but here. I hear laughter, feel relaxed beyond measure, and contemplate lobster or shrimp for dinner. I am happy and I'm ready to do it all over again tomorrow and tomorrow and all of the summers of my life with my children and their children. On and on it goes, just like the waves rolling against the sandy bottom of the ocean floor.
Two weeks of heaven...
For my big cuz, Nancy ~ I love you.