Summer Longing

As close as it was to being a white Christmas this year in Philly, I felt myself get nostalgic for the warm summer days of T-shirts and sunscreen. So here’s a small excerpt of memories from my past/creative writing improv that will hopefully sedate some of that warm-season-sickness…enjoy!!

beach

I wake up, momentarily, to the sound of a harp playing slightly less beautifully through modern technology, to press the blessed snooze button. My dreams after the interruption are never as clear or entertaining because of the nagging idea of waking and joining the living. The second snooze button is never necessary. Now that I am fully awake, I take in my surroundings and become disoriented with the room I’m in. I hear cars drive by my window and smell the unmistakable sent of sea water, but my bedroom isn’t near a busy street and the air freshener in my room is caramel apple. Then it hits me-SQUAWK-seagulls! Everything comes back; the sand that burned my feet because of the blazing sun, afternoon bike rides on the boardwalk, bathing suits instead of underwear, no shoes, smells of banana boat, these are the days I love.

I get ready for the day by piling the rats nest on my head into a sad excuse of a bun and throwing on my classic summer attire (bathing suit, shorts from Pacsun, tank from She Be Surfin’, flip-flops from a Victoria’s Secret freeby three years ago). I already have a list of what I want to do today because my mind is dysfunctional that way. I grab a pop-tart from the kitchen upstairs and leave a note for my parents, ‘I’m up and out and I have my phone.’ I want to visit my favorite spot first, the used book store. It’s a little shop on 9th and Asbury that is hidden from society because of its size and features.

I got my license in January, but I don’t want to pay for parking or have to worry about a car getting overheated so I hop on my Dad’s old bike and ride the 46 blocks to the center of town. It’s not bad, though, because its just turning 8 AM so the wind feels cool and there aren’t many people on the sidewalks. I park my bike on the 35 mph sign and open the chiming door to the book store. Linda at the front desk greets me and goes back to the book she’s reading. I browse a little in the front room, but my real destination is the back room that is dimly lit with rows on rows of slightly beat up chapter books. This is my treasure chest. I glance over the Sarah Dessen books not really choosing one to read because they are for reading in the winter when summer is just a memory of days past. I’m satisfied with a set of three science fiction books. I brush off the dead stink bug from the only chair in the room and nestle in for a good hour of reading. The books are interesting with lots of magic and mysteries, so I decide they would be worth reading later on and buy them for a total of $5.29. I hop on my bike carefully (the seat’s a little too hot) and hook the plastic bag of newly bought old books onto my handle bar-I’ve been meaning to put a basket on here. I ride by Mrs. and Mr. Johannes, the old couple who live on 31rst and wave with one hand while keeping my balance on the unstable bike with the other. The air is warm maybe about 95 degrees and my tank top is sticking to the sweat on my back so I ride faster, knowing that I will end up being more sweaty but for the time being, I just created the world’s most awesome fan.

We live on 55th street, (aka the most populated street in Ocean City, aka the most touristy.) It’s about two blocks from the beach-NOT Wildwood blocks, don’t worry!-with great food places and Quicky Marts. Some summer stayers (aka assholes) hang out at the Sack O’Subs by the dunes rating girls in their bikinis that walk by. At the end of the street closest to the bay, a little family owned restaurant that looks more like a shack is another favorite place of mine. I ride by on my bike to see if his car’s in the parking lot. Instead I find him perched on the front step playing a guitar slightly out of tune.

“Hey, Weekend Warrior,” he says.

“It’s Tuesday.”

“And a perfect day to wreck some havoc.”

That’s Jack, my best friend. We met last winter from a friend of a friend. He’s most likely gay but just too outgoing to care.

“When are you off?” I asked.

“When did I start?”

“Slow day?”

“You could say that. I’ll just tell Jane to man my shift.”

“You definitely shouldn’t phrase it like that to her she’d bite your head off!”

“Yeah yeah.”

Of course that’s the reason he would say it to her. Jane is a feminist to a harsh level, but she likes me and all.

Jack and I head down to 42nd because the beach is less crowded there and the lifeguards are too far away to notice us. We quote rap music back and forth and show off our worst dance moves to passerby’s asking them to judge who’s better. The beach feels amazing. We don’t bother with formalities and have a race into the ocean. We ride waves, pretend we’re fish, and see who can hold their breath the longest underwater. We act like little kids but, hell, who cares! I get out of the water and realize I left my phone and the bag on my bike back at the shack. Ugh, I’m always doing that!

Heading back to 55th, we walk by the Sack O’Subs guys. Jack throws off his towel in a dramatic fashion and shimmies yelling, “What am I?! Like a 9.7?! Cumon guys I gotta know!”

“Jack, I told you last time, buddy, you’re a hard 7 which is good enough for the ladies.” Jack is friends with everyone and well known around this town. Of course the Summer Stayers would love Jack considering that he’s technically one of them, but the fact that he has a job makes him a more permanent fixture to me. We go our separate ways around one, after he sneaks me a free sandwich from the shack, and make plans for later. I jump in the shower when I get home and am pleased at my tan from the day’s events. I run a brush through my wet hair (I know I’m not supposed to but it’s faster!) and put on real clothes. I go upstairs and find my mom’s neat handwriting under mine on this mornings note saying ‘Ditto xoxo.’ 

I think I’ll go to the boardwalk tonight with Nick or Liz, and maybe go by the water ice stand to see Jack again. The bonfire on the beach is Thursday night, so I’m excited! I feel like I have the world at my feet. These are the days that I live for with few rules, warm weather, and friends that you could hang out with forever.

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