At the Beach
By Sally Madison
Everyone had told her that you haven’t seen California until you’ve been to the beach. Linda scoffed, ‘I’ve seen water before, big deal, lots of water.’ She had recently been depressed and lonely, and she just hadn’t made time, but her roommate had bullied her so badly, she figured she’d get this over with, so she could get her roommate off her back.
Looking across the horizon she could see swimmers on rafts, disturbing the pattern of the sunlight’s sparkle on the ocean swells. Slowly and carefully she walked, picking up each foot so as not to get sand in her shoes, but she gave up. Taking off each sock, she meticulously rolled it and set each sock in its corresponding shoe. The water looked inviting, but she wasn’t in the mood. She walked along the shoreline, watching her feet change the color of the sand from dark to light with each step, fascinated. It reminded her of a poster she had once seen about a guy who was walking the beach with Jesus, and how Jesus had carried him at the times when there was only one pair of footprints in the sand. She looked around to see her own footprints, then looked down and wiggled her toes, watching the ocean collect in each of the tiny holes her toes had left in the sand. No, they were her feet alright. It must be that Jesus was too busy to help with her troubles.
The sun was so very warm. She spread her towel on the sand and sat in the middle of it. She placed her shoes and socks carefully beside her and put her eyeglasses safely in one shoe. As she sat, watching the ocean waves, two boys and a girl came walking along the shoreline. “Look at that bathing suit, will ya,” the older boy commented.
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing.” the girl in a skimpy suit retorted.
The younger boy had to add his two cents, “It looks like the one my grandmother wears.” They all giggled as they walked past. She frowned as she laid back and realized that this suit was her mother’s when she was a young woman.
“Splash, splash…” She sat up, and coming towards her was a young man carrying a small raft.
“Yo!” he called out. He had to be talking to her, there was no one else in the area. She wished the sand would just swallow her up. She tried to avert her eyes, but he was coming right towards her.
He obviously came to check her out. He smiled, “I haven’t seen you here before.”
Standing awkwardly, she began, “New to the area. That’s a neat raft you got there.”
“No, it’s my board. See?” As he pointed out the other young men who were standing on the water, “Didn’t you see us surfing? You should try it.”
After an hour of coaxing, Linda relented. ‘So THIS is California.’, she thought smiling appreciatively.