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Seagulls

I dragged my feet slowly through the soft sand of the Oregon Coast beachfront, and allowed the sound of the crashing waves to envelope me and take me to another, more beautiful world as I watched the setting sun. Seagulls flew low over the thrashing ocean, and called to each other as they danced within their delicate game of tag.

The sky was stained with pink and orange, and the clouds were painted golden with the last few rays of sunlight. The bluffs and cliffs of rock appeared almost blue, and I studied them closely as I let the cool water wash over my toes, dragging up sea-foam on to the beach. Children’s carefree laughter echoed behind me just above the noise of the waves, and I smiled inwardly as I thought of how they must be playing beach-soccer, or hide-and-seek.

Someone’s black Labrador bounded past me as it chased the Frisbee its master had thrown, and I giggled as its tongue flopped out of its mouth.

Sighing, I turned and began to head back to my little white beach-front cottage. Summer would soon be over, and I would have to retreat back into my old routine, which left no time for walking on the beach and listening to the waves. Relaxation would evade me, and before long I would be swallowed by homework and chores.

I breathed in the salty, clear, clean air and pulled my mind from those troubling thoughts. I would savor what time I had left and cease to complain when that time had run out—then I would simply flip the hour glass and start again.

As I began to head back towards home, I thought of Mom, and what she might be preparing for dinner tonight. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought she might have mentioned clam chowder. My stomach growled and I laughed a little, remembering the times that my father would tease me for having such a small stomach with such a large appetite.

It was always things like this that I remembered him for—the small, inconsequential things that always seem to define a person for who they really are. Mom and I don’t like to remember him for how he died: a cancerous brain tumor that had eventually led to his death when I was seven. So we ignore the pitying stares of those who are new to town and had only just heard of my father’s tragic fate, and we go on like we have for eight years—just fine.

Farther up the beach, I see Mom lean out the doorway of our cottage, and I wave so she doesn’t have to strain her voice trying to yell for me over the waves. Even though I can’t plainly make out the features of her face from this distance, I know that she’s smiling, and that it lights up the space around her. Mom’s dark brown bobbed hair flies about her face in the wind, and I grin at her as my longer, matching brown hair copies hers.
Sometimes I wonder how my mom can be so great. She’s amazing. In some ways, she reminds me of the seagulls; free-spirited, optimistic, and always joyful. Watching the birds now, I see all the similarities in action, and I can’t help but laugh.

Sometimes, the best thing you can be is a bird at heart.




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PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm:
This is great i really liked this keep up the great work  if you have time could you please check out and comment on my story Numb.  i would really appreciate the feedback
 
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