Shoulder to Shoulder

September 29, 2008
The salty smell of the ocean lingered along the stretched boardwalk. Two brothers stood beside each other, side by side and extended their sight to the uneven mirror that lay before them. The sun was slightly raised above the shimmering sea whose tides began to crawl up the beach, devouring the leftover toys that the children left behind. With his arm around my shoulders, we stood in our sandals and we watched the sky melt together.

School was out, and summer was in. The teachers began to pack their boxes with the insides of the desks. I began to shake with excitement as I sat in the backseat of my car. In a few minutes, my brother would be sitting beside me and the car would kick up the dust and be on its way home. The elementary school was brick red and it stood tall with its gaping mouth, hungry for children. Soon a multitude of students rushed through the doors, cheering with happiness, praising the end of the school year, and welcoming summer. My brother then entered the car and we began to discuss the high points of our day. I could soon imagine the sound of the crashing waves and the cawing seagulls, circling the air sifting the ground with their eyes looking for food.

We found my father had already loaded the car with the umbrellas and chairs as we pulled into the driveway. Even his clothes had been changed from his managerial suit and tie to his old t-shirt and khakis. The trip to Jones Beach was always an exiting one. As we exited the highway, we had a small chance of seeing deer come out from hiding and gaze upon the paved land that had once been theirs.

After arriving at Jones Beach, the parking spaces were filled with cars and people, flying kites and model planes. With hot sand beneath my feet, my brother and I ran out to find a good spot. Then we sprinted down to the shore laughing and splashing in the water. Soon after, it was time to bring out our old beach toys that we had brought out from the basement. The shovels were old and the plastic handles were archaic and worn, yet we intended to dig to China and never stop until the center of the Earth was long behind us. My father had gone to buy food and drinks, while my mother stayed behind to keep an eye on us two. What was only 2 minutes seemed like hours, and our blistered hands were relieved to see that we had created a hole to fit the both of us. However, we were disappointed to see that the tide would not reach us, so my father suggested we wait just a bit longer for the tides to come rolling in.

Passing the time to wait for the tides was not as hard as we thought. Chasing the seagulls and building sand castles began to expand within the little time we had left. Soon enough, the tides began to creep forward and when it came, my brother and I were there. Waiting eagerly in the tub, the seawater soon flowed right into it. Delighted as we were, we let the water cool and massage our tired bodies.

Many of the people on the beach began to leave, packing their things then bustling out through the exit, complaining about their sunburns. We too were all ready to leave. My dad, however, with still a pinch of youth in him, wanted to fly a kite that he had brought out for this occasion. After dumping our things in the car, my brother and I excitedly grabbed hold of the kite. The wind easily swooped it up with ease and the string held tight. As I watched the kite soar in the air, I had a slight feeling that I too was in the air flying.

Eventually, the wind grew tired and left the kite sprawled across the ground. The car was ready to hit the road, but my brother and I were not. We stood shoulder to shoulder, and waited for the sun to go to sleep before we slept for the ride home. It became a tradition, going out to the beach, the sand castles, the digging. But the memory of how I felt when we stood to watch the end of the day has imprinted itself into my memory and my heart. Just us two, my brother and I.

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