Getting Away

January 12, 2009
We were screaming as we ran along the shore, my dried-stiff, salty hair whipping my face with each stride I took. The heavy and wet sand tried to hold us back, it tried to weigh us down, but despite its efforts, we kept sprinting. People around us were laughing; one man (who was clearly entertained) whipped out his video camera to film the moment! I didn’t know whether it was funny or scary, only that we had to get away. I had to get away because for all I knew, if I didn’t outrun my new enemies I could soon become their prey.
Caitlin had always been a close friend of mine growing up, and although we were so close, we were also terribly different. I was the one who laid back on a lounge chair in the sun, while she would awaken me at 7:30 A.M. to go for a run, or as she would say, “an adventure.” I was always quite content with shopping, make-up, and hour-long phone conversations, whereas she found this blithe happiness in activities like making obstacle courses, playing soccer with her dog, and having food fights. Despite our differences, we were best friends, and in 9th grade by complete coincidence, Caitlin and I had ended up only five miles apart in Florida over our spring vacation, and it seemed I was the one who would be converting to her ways.
The heat was searing, about 95ï‚°, and we couldn’t waste the day inside, so Caitlin’s family took us down to the beach. My idea of the perfect beach day consists of a bikini, a pair of sunglasses, a magazine, and some music. Of course, Caitlin couldn’t settle for relaxation for even a day, so it was no surprise to me when she interrupted my sun-bathing by shouting above a phone conversation that I was currently engaged in, “YELLO! Let’s go on an adventure!” Merely by the tone of her voice, a stranger would have thought she was a first grader riding a bike without training wheels for the first time. I glanced up at her, eyebrows raised, my sandy hand shading my forehead from the sun, and watched as she reached into a bag of pretzels and tossed them into the air to the few seagulls flying above us. This, as I was about to find out, was an enormous mistake.
Within seconds, the three or four seagulls above us had become fifteen, and Caitlin still continued launching up pretzels! Part of me wanted to yell and scold her, but instead, I found myself under her spell, grabbing pretzels and throwing them in the air with her as we quickly darted down the beach, pretzels in one hand, my phone in the other. This was the thrill of the chase, except this time, we were the ones being chased! Fun and games turned into life or death seconds after we started our sprint. The starved seagulls were chasing us full-speed for more food. Somehow they seemed to multiply, and what once were fifteen seagulls were now thirty, and I was falling behind. The only thing that kept me going was the rush of pure adrenaline. I wasn’t the track star that Caitlin was; I couldn’t outrun these seagulls!
The moment was hysterical, racing, fast! Everything rushed by as we pushed ourselves in the heat of the sun. With the panic taking over my mind, I chucked my phone into the softer sand, forgetting that my confused friend was still on the line. We darted left and dove into the chilled salt water for the quickest protection, loosing the demons instantaneously. And now that we had finally lost these savage birds, just after the rush of fear and excitement had worn off, we did it all over again.
I will always remember this day as the one of the days where I could be childish again. It didn’t matter how awkwardly I ran without shoes, or how sweaty and ridiculous I looked with my hair falling from my pony tail. It didn’t matter to me that I didn’t finish my phone conversation, or that a stranger and his family laughed as they video-taped the outrageous scene. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t getting an even tan either, because on that day I was young again. I’m still a kid, and enjoying the stupid mistakes we make is what living life is all about. On that hot vacation day, the only thing that mattered to me was outrunning a flock of hungry seagulls.

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