Cliche Summer Love

March 10, 2017
By , Lutz, FL
She tore open the envelope her hands shaking. It was the first letter he had sent her since the month after she left Palm Island last summer, why they hadn’t kept in touch was a mystery to Maxy how could two people be best friends for two months out of the year and not talk for the rest she didn’t know. Her heart beat out of her chest and her breathing came to a halt as his words brought back all the beautiful memories of last summer- snorkeling, fishing, diving, scalloping, bonfires on the beach, and wrecking that golf cart. The lasts words of the letter, “can’t wait to see you again,” made her smile till’ her cheek’s hurt. The year had taken its sweet time passing by, days felt like months and her mind wandered back to the island she loved constantly. By the time her countdown read 48 hours to P.I Maxy had successfully packed a year’s worth of clothes into her small duffle bag, she sat on top of it as she forced the zipper to close praying it wouldn’t break. The night before her toes would be back in the sand she loved Maxy couldn’t sleep, it practically felt like Christmas Eve but better.
At five am. sharp the Caparuso family had piled into their Jeep Wrangler, Maxy’s head leaned against the window and watched as the world around her passed by and she dozed on and off aong the six-hour drive. As the car pulled onto the ferry, the only means of transportation from the mainland to palm island, Maxy’s seatbelt had been flung off already, her window wide open as she took in the familiar smell of sea salt in the air. The moment the tires hit the pavement of the island Maxy’s door swung open as she leaped out of the car and bolted, her long legs carrying her down the street as she passed the not so modest beach bungalows she had grown up looking at. She ran nonstop the mile to Zach’s house, 48597 Turtle Landing Dr., she collided with him head on as she rounded the corner of the Mealey’s drive way. She took a glance at him, his long board, skin that could blend into the café con leche his mom made every morning even though she wasn’t Hispanic, eyes so blue they melted into the crystal-clear sky, and his dirty blonde hair that completed the classic suffer look that never seemed to change his height however, did. Zach dropped his board and hugged her until her lungs longed for air.  He looked at Maxy too as he realized noticed she’d changed a lot too, gone were her mis-matched flip flops, short stubby legs, old sailing regatta t-shirts, and hair that hadn’t been brushed in months. In their place were long lean legs, cute tanks from Urban, and waves in her hair that looked calm and under control. “Your still pale Max,” he smirked.
“It’s hard to tan when you hog all the sun,” she laughed back. Immediately a wave of relief flooded Maxy she as realized nothing between them changed. No matter what happened over the year, no matter how little they had talked, they would still be best friends, Zach and Max like no time had passed and they still had that 9 o’clock curfew. Their friendship had been one made by their parents who had long ago all been friends back in High school in New York and moved down to Florida together. Since they had been in diapers, Zach and Maxy and been together every summer in Palm Island where both families owned homes.
“C’mon let’s go on the boat,” Zach said his voice filled with excitement, “you know you miss my driving skills Max.”
“Not one bit,” she shot back with a laugh. Last summer when Zach turned 15 his parent’s had gifted him with a flats boat, he loved that boat more then he loved life itself. Much to Maxy’s surprise he wasn’t half as bad at driving a boat as he was a golf cart and hadn’t actually caused any major accidents except tearing down part of the dock which had needed replacing badly anyways. She couldn’t wait to get back on the water, it brought her a sense of peace and serenity. She loved the way the ocean’s surface from above could be so still it could be mistaken for glass but below could be so full of life and alive.
Zach but the boat into idle and as they made their way down the canal that led to the intercostal they caught up with each other, he boasted about how he had finally made first string varsity quarterback and captain of the lacrosse team.  Maxy wasn’t surprised everything Zach did he did well, and she told all about making varsity swimming and the various trios her family had taken all over the world that year. As the boat approached the Intercostal Zach put the boat into full speed and they rode in silence. That was the special part of their friendship, they understood each other so well they didn’t have to talk. The ride to Snook Alley their favorite fishing spot was long but they didn’t mind a day of fishing and boating was better then a day of doing chores or being in school.
They sat in the sun casting cast after cast waiting. First fish of the summer was a big tittle and something neither of them took lightly, Zach was the raining champ he had won the past three years and wasn’t about to lose now. Not 20 minutes had past until Zach had his first bite and once again took the highly sought after award. No Zach wasn’t a very humble person Maxy knew she would hear about this for the next two months. As the sun was starting to set they headed back home both starving, the sun having drained all the energy from their bodies. 
By the time they returned to the dock and Maxy had cleated the boat the table had been set for their family’s joint first summer’s dinner. The long table with 10 places sat under the palms and lanterns, the smell of lobster and crab filled the air and made Zach’s mouth water. As everyone took their places Preston, Maxy’s little brother said grace in his outside voice as he liked to call it. To Maxy it was the perfect day followed by the perfect night, fishing with Zach and her favorite dinner, nothing could be it. The energy that surrounded the table was filled with excitement as everyone conversed, Mrs. Mealy stood as she called everyone’s attention. Maxy and Zach were both confused, Zach’s mom never made speeches at this annual dinner and she wasn’t one to break tradition. “I’m so excited were all here again, we all know that palm island has a special place in each of our hearts, and that’s why what I have to say is a message that’s bittersweet and I know the kids won’t be thrilled about the news at first. Zach, Will, Zander me and dad have a surprise for you, this summer were taking a road trip. We’ll be driving from Pal Island to California. Doesn’t that sound exciting?” she said smile to had her anxiety she knew taking the kids away from the island would break their hearts.
“NO!” Zach and Maxy shouted in unison.
“I’m not leaving mom, you can’t make me”
“Please Mrs. Mealey you know you’d rather stay here you don’t have to go.”
“I’m sorry kids but it was your dad’s idea and I thought it was an amazing opportunity.”
In an instant Maxy’s and Zach’s summers had been ruined. They waited for these two months all year they longed for them. “C’mon Maxy let’s go to the beach.” I silence they loaded into Zach’s golf cart, his 14th birthday present, his parents never gave small gifts. The rode in silence down to the beach this time not out of comfort but of anger and sadness. They walked along the beach, ghost crabs passing beneath their feet. Moon light glistened against the ocean’s rough surface and the crashing of the waves filled the silence between them. As they sat on the sand, wind blowing their hair, they knew the summer wouldn’t be the same, they enjoyed the comfort they wouldn’t have for much longer. And as Maxy looked up to the sky she wished upon the star for Zach to say, realizing that she didn’t just want Zach to be with her she needed him.

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