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When the World is Mine

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At four fifteen A.M. the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard blows her massive horn. Living on the beach, all you can hear is the sounds of the open sea at night. That’s why I keep my windows open.
When the whistle sounds I awake. My room is humid and thick with salt, but I’m used to the taste by now. I’ve been here for a week, sleeping in the shell room upstairs in my aunt’s house. The walls are whitewashed bead board and the floors are made of sanded driftwood. Seashells of every shape and color are all over the place. They are the doorknobs, the embroidery on the sheets, the lamps and crown molding. Even though the sun hasn’t quite surfaced over the horizon, the horn tells me it’s a new day.
I throw on my jeans and a sweater because mornings on the Cape are unforgiving. They are cold and full of harsh wind, an atmosphere that lasts until long after the sun has been up. I creep down the creaky wooden stairs in my flip flops, making sure I don’t slap the soles against the bottoms of my feet. I have to hurry up because I will miss everything if I don’t make it to the beach in time, and today I leave for home.
The sliding glass doors in the kitchen are heavy and awkward, but they give way after a few good pushes. It’s still dark outside and everything is quiet. The seagulls have not emerged from their slumber and I can smell the dense salty air, stronger than usual with the tide is rolling out.
I closed the doors behind me so I don’t let in a draft, and take extra precautions to be silent on the porch as my parents room is just above. I slink across the patio and down the driveway to the street. The sky is starting to turn a brilliant shade of blue-gray and I can see rays of pink. I know I have to make haste.
At the end of the driveway the street pavement begins. The bleached road stretches for miles and miles along the coast in both directions, There are no cars, no joggers, no cyclists, and not dog walkers at this time of day. I run to the other side, free from the sensitive ears of my parents. Free to witness a miracle.
The sand spills over the foam rubber of my sandals and freezes my feet. The night has turned the grains to snow. My steps are long and heavy, pulling my feet out of the sand, trying to keep my balance on the wobbly surface.
A faint line of orange glows beneath the pink in the sky and I know I’m just in time. I reach the life guard post and climb to the top, facing east. In the last moments of darkness the quiet world leaves me feeling dejected. The solitude makes me an outsider and I am vulnerable. I hold my arms against the breeze, against this feeling, and wait patiently as the golden drop rises in the sky.
Light reflects off the water and the shells and the sand when the first slice of sun appears. I have to shade my eyes. When I look back, the sun is almost completely up and everything is blinding and gorgeous. The blue grasses of the night turn green and the black ocean waves turn to a sparkling navy. My arms let go of their tight grip and the sun burns into my dark sweater, warming my bones and making the breeze more inviting. I wait there for a moment and let the newly revitalized earth sink in.
Right then, when the world is gorgeous and still, just beginning its life, I am happy. Sitting atop the lifeguard tower, I feel like I own the universe, like nothing in this world could possibly be above me.





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