May 19, 2008
By Casey Smith, Manlius, NY

The Dance

Never has she seen anything else so powerful. She sits in the sand watching the crashing blue waves and wonders how it is possible. She can’t resist as she runs out into the approaching pressure. It causes a struggle to keep her stance and takes a harsh plunge into the water while fighting the thrusting current. At first it’s unpleasant as her body slides ungracefully through a thick patch of mussels and other rough, sharp shells. After she survives the journey past this mass of torture she is free to float with the current, her body bobbing up and down, trying so hard not to get pulled to shore or out to sea. It’s like being stuck in a tug of war battle and she’s the silky, red ribbon in the center of the rope, virtually no presence but still affected by the motions. As she lies there in a cradling water hammock she imagines that she is alone; tuning out the yells of small children, the whistle of the lifeguard, and the shouting of other kids her age who have yet to learn how to relax. Her? She has mastered relaxation at this point. She does enjoy the quick paced and exhilarating boogie boarding experience, but she’d choose to float there all day. Sometimes even when her blue foam boogie board does accompany her out to sea, she stops for a while and just floats on it, trying so hard not to fall into a deep glorious sleep. She doesn’t swim. She just floats. She’s not a very good swimmer, nor does she care for the exercise, she just fiends for the soothing massage of the salty and refreshing water. When she stares up at the sky, it is the complete mirror of the ocean. The gray blue appearance and, although she cannot see the fish under the water, as she would rather not, they are the reflection of the birds swimming through the sky gracefully. They dive for their prey, breaking the illusion of mirrored existence as they scoop up their sea counterparts in their beaks. When the sky begins to grow grayer and grayer she knows that the beach hours will be coming to and end and she will be forced to leave by the impending darkness and the increasingly cold water. The best part about leaving the water is returning minutes later fully dressed and just enjoying the water’s elegant dance and the whistling, salty breeze.

The Routine

The day when she has a good morning never arrives. The day when she has a bad one comes ten fold on Monday. She had an okay, moderately busy weekend. Sleep deprived as usual, the awakening for school bright and early Monday morning is hardly acceptable to her body. It is still dark out, being daylight savings, and she has not yet adjusted, nor will she ever. Pulling the blankets away from her only adds the excruciating feeling of being stabbed by blades of intense, sharp cold. She has a scratchy throat and can hardly speak. Her only way to communicate her ailing feelings is to make incoherent noises with her throat. She walks to the bathroom and of course, only after having done the deed does she realize there is no toilet paper. She has to yell out for some assistance, which is difficult too, and makes her head throb in pain. The only thing brought to her are some napkins. Undesirable to say the least. Her mom is cranky for the untimely shouting that disrupted her much needed sleep and immediately returns to her bed. The girl splashes cold water on her face and feels refreshed. What does she find but that there is no towel on the rail. She leaves the bathroom quickly and feels for a towel in the hall closet. The dreaded moment arrives when she has to remove her soft, warm pajamas and put on her undecided outfit, which she’ll most likely change at least once. After getting dressed in her sloppiest possible outfit she goes to the kitchen and weakly pulls three cereal bars from the cupboard, her daily feast. She waits patiently for the bus to pull up on the dark wet street in front of her house to walk outside into the moist cold. It rained over night so it’s as if she’s in a damp, dark cave. She hears the low rumble of the bus and walks down the rocky driveway. She is the first on the bus, it is very cold and dark like a castle corridor, and the only difference from the outside is that it is dry, thankfully. She leans her head against the window falling into a feeble sleep like state. When the bus stops she is awakened by her head jolting against the moist window. She realizes she is at school and groans. She does not want to move. Entering the school is like getting sharp pins of light pierced into your skull. She walks the seemingly long distance to her locker and just waits for the day to really begin.

The Scrutiny

In an architecturally fascinating home, there sleeps a boy. Up the stairs to his dark blue painted room, very spacious, he sleeps clutching his pillow on his side like he always does. He rolls over and his eyes open. They are dark brown. When the curtains are open and the shining mid morning sun is revealed his eyes are a shade of golden amber. His eyelashes are long; something many women crave for themselves. He rises and turns to look in the mirror. From the side he has a pleasant button nose. Very rounded and cute. His eye shape is very delicate and sweet. Looking into his eyes you know exactly how he’s feeling. When he’s looking back at you his eyes give you a feeling of reassurance that you can always be happy. His lips are perfect. A light pink. The bottom one is slightly larger. The perfect lips to kiss; so soft. His face is like that of a dream. No extremities, nothing out of proportion. Symmetry is attractive. He smiles very big and his eyes almost disappear. His perfect white teeth are just right for his mouth. He eats his cereal with enthusiasm. He holds his spoon like a small child holds a pencil; within the entire fist. He scoops up his cereal and leans down to vacuum it away from the dish. He makes slurping noises and chews loudly. This is distracting and terribly obnoxious, but not when he does it. It’s adorable and it makes one wish they were a little kid again. Whenever someone is around him they don’t ever want to grow up. He hasn’t shaved in a few days. His facial hair grows thicker and faster than many men. It’s very fitting to him. His beard is a dark brown along with his eyebrows. His hair is a pleasant sandy brown on top but on the sides and the back of his head it’s almost black. The sandy brown hair is so soft and fuzzy while the black is a bit coarser. It’s not noticeable that his hair is multicolored unless you’ve been up close and personal a lot.

Her eyes are brown. No they’re not. They are green and if you’ve ever looked closely at the inside texture of an orange; that’s what her eyes look like. Like little pockets of juice. They are large and round and when she smiles her cheeks are squishy little bulbs underneath them. Her smile is very big and illuminating; perfect white teeth.
Her chin has a dimple, not too distinctive. She hates stories; stories of your past that she wasn’t involved in; she doesn’t care. When she is eating something like a chunk of bread or a cracker she pushes it from her thumb using her four other fingers almost like she’s pretending to eat; but there really is food. Her nose is small and fits nicely on her face. She wonders where it came from because her mom has a “Jew nose” and her father has a “black man’s nose”; her nose should be shockingly big. Her hair is curly and wild underneath but calm and tidy on top so when it’s draped over each shoulder the effect of curly locks peeking out occurs; almost like they’re a hidden secret. Her natural hair color is a dark brown. Plain and normal, but right now it is an orangey red; it suits her. After the summer faded so did her tan. Her skin is now mildly pale. She still has little sun freckles distributed on her nose and cheeks; they’re very cute. She is tall and slender. Her height comes mainly from the length of her torso. She has an air of down to earthiness when she walks. When she’s walking by herself and she has headphones on; it’s as if she is in fact completely alone and the people around her are just for decoration. She always has those headphones on or nearly on and if you ask her a question about a musician she is most likely to know the answer or to point you in the right direction. From a more emotional standpoint she is a rock; at least that’s how she appears.

Mysterious Excursion

They were alone in the woods. It was nearly dawn and all they could hear were leaves bustling on the ground as if they were rushing with somewhere to go. It was autumn and the leaves were all beautifully painted and dripping like perspiration from the trees. It was cool and moist. The fresh air was so invigorating that it pulsed through their bodies with every inhalation. The wind was strong but not too harsh. The trees were dancing like an ensemble of beautiful prima ballerinas. The small baby trees looked as if they were doing yoga when the wind blew them almost to the ground and then let them up again.
They at last, reached the place. It was a tall seemingly dead tree that twisted at the top and had a mysterious mist all around it. At the base of the tree it appeared to be solid but if you moved close to it a small entrance appeared that was big enough for a full-grown person to crawl through. People who don’t know the significance of the beautiful arborescence would take the entrance for a common animal niche. The two young adults, a boy with brown eyes and fuzzy, sandy hair, and a tall girl with remarkable green eyes, stood at the base of the tree staring at it.
Finally there was a clearing and it was almost as if it was glowing. She looked behind them and all she could see was darkness. As they reached the end of the passageway they could see, again, the mysterious mist that surrounded the tree from which that had just voyaged through. But now that they had come to the other side they saw it was not mysterious at all. It was a beautiful white field of satin orchids that was emanating a pearly glow. There was a cobble stone path running off in all directions and from on top of the small hill where they now stood, could see that it formed an intricate labyrinth-like trail in the fields below. She peered behind her and could see the small opening in the side of an immense cliff where they had just come. The cliff seemed to go on forever above them. It was almost as if it expanded into the clouds, she thought. She could see the many wispy clouds dancing in the sky it was almost as if they were flowing in many directions. As she observed closer she realized that in fact they were. Like a busy city where everyone had a predetermined destination.

They continued down the narrow path amongst the blooming milky white orchids.
The hill they were standing on grew steeper and steeper as they climbed down. It seemed like hours before the orchids became scarce and they were amongst an abundance of tall wispy grass that reached their knees. There were wild flowers dotted all around. It was quite normal. They reached a fork in the path they had decided to take and could not decide which way to go. Splitting up was not an option. They both wanted to see as much of this magnificent place as possible and spend the experience together. They took a right and could see that the path they had taken led into what appeared to be a dense forest comprised solely of weeping willows and vine plants with large blooming purple buds, morning glories of epic proportions. She was confused, it was early morning but under the willows there were only broken shards of bright light too coincidentally above the paths amongst the trees. They were a bit anxious. It was dim and windy underneath the trees and they felt themselves grow colder as they walked beneath the continuous canopy. The sounds of the forest were like conversations between the tiny leaves on the vine like appendages of each tree. Sometimes their faces came into contact with theses tentacles, thinking that it would be irritating. To the contrary though, the trees limp, waving branches were very delicate.
When she looked up she could see an immense population of airborne birds soaring amongst the canopies of the trees visiting nests and various branches in search of food. Before looking at the birds she was nearly unaware of their presence. They glided through the air with precision and grace like a fairy tale of a flawless world with perfectly content creatures. They sang with beauty and their chirping voices sounded exquisite in the soft echo of the trees. They swooped back and forth above the young lovers’ heads and it seemed like the perfect moment.

There was a faint sound flowing towards them. They both stood up and gathered their things and continued along the forest path, following the sound waves through the silky atmosphere. When they realized that the forest was coming to a clear the anticipation began to sting. Once they came to the end they saw smoke floating a few hundred feet away, drifting from the valley below. They walked down a worn path that led them down a small hill and they saw a small structure. It was a simple yet well developed cabin. Their noses began to tingle with a blended scent of tranquility, an infusion of fall leaves and taste bud seductive spices. There was a man sitting beside the cabin with rich caramel skin. The sound that had led them here was the smooth sitar strings being beat continuously by his burnt amber painted fingers. He had red-rimmed glasses and wore a simple cloth ensemble, it was a creamy off-white color, the fabric looked smooth like butter. He didn’t notice them until they were standing about ten feet away from him. He motioned for them to sit on the plush grass. The soft tide of rhythm causes them to drift off into a trance where they experienced a fresh and spectacular adventure of relaxation.

Slowly reality overpowers their alternate and preferred existence as they are forced out of their reverie by the approaching burden of the social order.

The Experience

She was never a big fan of the sun. If she had to choose between staying on a wood bound lake or a sunny and virtually treeless ocean community, it would have been the lake. At least that’s how it used to be.
She always loved nature and being surrounded by all the different shades and hues of green. It was where the sky and trees clashed that was enchanting to her. She had stayed by the ocean a few times in her life. It was a lot of fun for her. The last time however there was one little drawback. It was the necessity of sweatpants on the beach. Hurricane season. Winds gusting, misty rain, and harsh waves. It was usually beautiful, sunny, and warm.
She met a boy. It was winter. They had been together for about 5 months when he invited her to the beach. It would be two weeks with him and his entire family, which included 4 out of 5 older siblings and their mischievous children. When they arrived after a long journey, she was ecstatic. She could see large homes on the marsh and could see boats sailing by. There were many species of birds flying around, looking as if they had it all.
They made it to the house and she was surprised to see that there was just one house standing between them and the ocean. After she helped unload the car she tossed all of her belongings into the room she was staying in and changed into her bathing suit. She and her significant other headed to the beach with their clothes over their suits, towels, and boogie boards. She had never boogie boarded before. It was amazing fun. She swallowed a lot of water. The saltiness caught her by surprise every time.
Already enjoying the beach was his older brother, sister-in-law, and his nephew. The little boy was playing in the sand, and of course, covered from head to toe in it. She knew she was going to have an amazing two weeks. The weather was perfect, not too hot. There was a little breeze and it felt very refreshing, especially with the ocean mist. That night they slept outside on the deck listening to the soft motions of the ocean waves.
After getting into the habit of going in the ocean, the towels and clothes and any other “beach necessities” were left behind. Heading to the sand with only their bathing suits on became the daily ritual; it was after all only a quick stroll there. At night the two young companions sat in the lifeguards’ chair, which they realized must be the best place to be. The moon looked lonely up in the sky; its only friend was its sparkling reflection on the ocean surface. They had the best conversations in that chair. It’s almost as if the ocean inspired something in each of them to just let loose and bond. They learned new things about each other and talked about anything and everything; everything.
Every morning they loved waking up and being able to see each other immediately. By coincidence they always woke up at what seemed like the exact moment, just ready to start another wonderful day at the beach. They’d eat breakfast with his noisy family, who by the end of the first week had filled the house with a crowded 14 occupants. Then they decided what to do next. They loved the feeling of having the whole day with nothing that they absolutely had to do. Some mornings they would hop on bikes and ride through the busy town scoping out where to eat. They had already found their favorite place the first night; a very authentic Mexican restaurant with the best nachos they had ever beheld. They left a large tip at that restaurant. Having brought almost her entire fund of pizza shop labor dollars with her she knew the world was at her fingertips, food wise anyways.
On what seemed like the most beautiful day that could ever be, his whole family was on the beach. The tide was coming in incredibly high and many people had to put their belongings on the dunes. Although for some it was major chaos, she thought it was an amazing sight. There were little kids running through what looked like a giant puddle and throwing wet sand everywhere. That day his little baby niece got to go in the ocean because there was a small sand bar. The brother who they had greeted there on the first day lost what was probably his most prized possession in the water that day; his wedding ring. Everyone was very sympathetic and did not know what to do except hopelessly search the rushing waters and look amongst the many black and blue mussels.
She enjoyed each night even more than the last. She had gotten to know everyone in his family a little bit better and she opened up and wasn’t shy anymore. Not even around him. Each night ended with all of them watching TV. Then they headed downstairs to their bedroom, but before they went to sleep they sat, awake on the fluffy rugged floor, for what seemed like a lifetime. There’s nothing that they didn’t talk about.

Each day seemed to last forever but the time they had there began to disappear. Any barriers that the two had between them also disappeared. They were no longer shy about anything, nervous around each other, or afraid to speak their minds. They were very comfortable around each other. The trip was like an experiment and a test on their relationship.

After the last of his siblings and nieces and nephews were gone, his mom began to find little things here and there that they had forgotten. There was a bucket and rubber gloves that were used for fishing, a baby bottle, a towel or blanket here or there, a blue shirt (that he claimed for his own), and Pooh’s Heffalump Adventure.

On the day they were leaving, bright and early, they took one last stroll to the beach. The sun had completely risen, but the beach was calm with only the early birds and the real birds. They stood by the lifeguards’ chair that was lying down on its side and just hugged. All they could do now is reminisce about their trip and think of all the late night conversations, secrets, and memories that they’d leave behind.


It is a bit chilly but she doesn’t mind. Walking towards the park alone, it begins to sprinkle. She can smell the fresh cut grass; its scent is stronger when it’s wet. It feels cool and delicate on her face and arms. The sun is still shining brightly; fooling her into thinking it is warm. A faint rainbow appears in the sky. This is spring rain. A fresh and fragrant shower that brings the foliage to life.

In her memory, riding a bike in the rain was completely liberating. In the hot shower she felt refreshed but anxious and increased her speed. She started to feel oppressed by the torrent of water as she rushed back to the house by the beach. It was really coming down hard. There was a fresh salty scent and she could almost smell the warmth. This is summer rain. A harsh and powerful rain that the plants were craving.

The gusting wind brings branches and leaves down. The wet branches look soggy, frail and disregarded. The cloudburst enhances the smell of the dead leaves. The sound of violent splatter is heard on the metal drain. Today all she can do is watch the endless waterfall on the other side of the glass. This is autumn rain. A stale yet relaxing rainstorm that soaks the earth.

The ground is sparkling more than ever. It is the North Pole on the east coast. The ground is glazed with a hard layer of snow that is now sheltered by a thin layer of ice. The roads are becoming increasingly hazardous. When the door is opened there is a cool cleansing scent that penetrates her whole body. This is winter rain. A dangerous and frightening inconvenience that swathes the ground and trees in a bitter frost.

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