Picture it: The last day of school was four days ago. You hang your towel around your neck and you look through the sand dunes, the ocean glinting behind them. Your parents are taking an eternity getting the cooler and beach chairs out of the car and your little brothers are smacking each other with their boogie boards. Finally, everyone is ready and you lead the way out onto the sand on the first day of your family vacation to the beach.
Your flip flops are already hurting between your toes so you kick them off. The sand is scalding and you sprint ahead to the cool damp section before stopping in your tracks because there it is, the water right in front of you. Your mom helps you with your sunscreen and you keep losing your balance from the sheer rigorousness of her lotion rubbing. Sweat is just starting to bead above your upper lip as you trot the last few steps to the water’s edge.
The first wave that breaks across your feet is cold and exhilarating, and it leaves sea foam bubbles across your skin as it rolls back across the sand. There are shells and rocks and little burrowing crabs laid out next to you and a piece of sea glass that will make its way back home to your nightstand. Your brothers tear out into the water and you plunge after them, seaweed looping itself around your ankles. The wave pushes you down as you duck under it and then you launch yourself up, breaking the surface of the water, wiping its saltiness out of your eyes. You tip backwards so that you’re floating, your arms spread out on either side of you and you inhale deeply the ocean smell that you won’t soon forget.
Before vacation is over, you’ll find a sand dollar, build countless sand castles, lose a flip flop when the tide sneaks in and laps at your beach blanket, get a little sun burned on your nose, see a dolphin fin and swallow a little too much salt water. And you’ll want to take it all back home with you.