The Sea

In the end what we remembered was not the bickering or who won the argument, but the waves. The sea’s mysteries, ebbing, flowing, sparkling with light; they mesmerized us that day and every day we visited. We washed up on the shores of our angst and rested there on the hot sands, feeling the water tickle us into smiling. We felt the breezes and forgot whatever we were arguing about before we arrived. The ocean always soothed us. We remember that.

On this particular day, it was no less so. Our snarling voices echoed between us as we jumped out of the car in our flip-flops and went to get our bags, chairs and the cooler from the hatch. The bags were filled with all good things; coconut scented lotion, whatever we’d deemed a good book for that day, huge soft towels, a lip balm and a sun hat.

Flip flops; what a silly name. It always makes us think of that dumb Jimmy Buffet song. What was the name of it now? Oh yes; “Marguaritaville.” We hated that song, but we couldn’t help but think of it and smile when we wore the most comfortable beach shoes ever made. Without fail we’d mutter off-key refrains of that song as we made our way to the sand. Since we’d usually arrived bickering, the dour tones of the song pleased us. People tended to smile as our silliness as they passed. (For more of this story, click the page link below…)


Sitting up with a groan and a pang in my back, I put my feet on the faded gold wall-to-wall carpet. Digging first my toes and then my heels into carpet pile, I survey where the polish has rubbed off my toenails. The wall is made of imitation paneling that I painted white. A month ago, I found a botanical print at a yard sale. It is of a lady slipper. I admire it, thinking for a long moment of camp in Maine. It makes me smile. Heaving a sigh, I slide on some shorts. They don’t match the t-shirt I took a nap in. I reach to the bedside table for the glass of tea that used to have ice in it before my nap. I drain it. I want a cigarette, but I need the bathroom more.

A few minutes later, I squint into the sunshine at the marigolds growing beside the metal steps my mother planted when she visited last. I don’t really like them. I sit on the steps and set down a book I took from the bathroom, thinking I’d read on the pier. The steps feel hot on my butt as I put on my Espadrilles. I reach over and dead head a couple shrunken flowers. The heavy scent of marigolds is still on them. The hot metal scent of them seems cloying, but they remind me of another island I love where my mother’s garden is. I don’t mind the scent so much when I think of my mother’s house. I toss the desiccated flower heads behind the steps. (For more of this story, click the page link below…)