Earth, wind, fire and water. Of them all, I have apassion for the sea. I believe it runs in my family, since my dad lives on a boatand several relatives chose to live in houses on the beach.
Like theocean, I have had turbulent times, though usually everything is fairly calm. Lifeis an uncharted sea that looks different to everyone's eyes. There is no right orleft turn on the road of life, just 360 degrees of direction to turn in theocean.
It all started for me in Corpus Christi, Texas. Every weekend,weather permitting, my family would drive an hour and join others on a ferry rideto South Padre Island, a few miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. My brother andI would play on the beach for hours. Nothing else mattered. It was just the Gulf,my family and me, with no worries.
When my parents divorced, the tripsbecame more and more rare, until there were no weekends at South Padre. One day Imet a man named Michael, whom I would get to know well, for he was my mother'snext suitor. That was fine with me because Michael was awesome. Everything abouthim was interesting. I even fell in love with his family, who lived in NorthCarolina.
We visited them every other summer. Instead of the Gulf ofMexico, there was the mighty Atlantic. The water was a little cooler so we didn'tswim as much but, boy, did we fish.
We would walk out on a pier for whatseemed like miles until we found the right fishing spot. We spent days lying backin the sun, soaking up its majestic rays while listening to the churningAtlantic. We would carelessly cast our lines, enjoying the wait. The funny thingwas, it never mattered if we caught anything. Half the time when we did, we threwthe fish back. It was all about being on that pier with my family and theocean.
With my mom and new stepdad in the military, there was a lot ofmoving. When my mom received orders for Germany, it was devastating to me and mybrother. For three years I saw nothing but a roped-off swimming area in a smalllake. No boats, no ferries, no piers, no waves and no freedom. Times didn't getmuch better when we moved to Kansas. The only good things were my age and thenumber of pools; I was old enough to have a job so, naturally, I became alifeguard.
Every once in a while I get to see my dad, who lives inFlorida. When I do, it is impossible to stop me from going to the beach. Thewater is our life. Every summer my dad's new family goes to the Bahamas for sixweeks. Dad takes his own boat, living onboard with his family. The only time theytouch land is to pick fresh fruit. Other than that, their food comes from thesea, and they eat like kings: lobster, crab, oysters, clams, fish, and severaltypes of edible plants.
My dream is to live near the beach. There would beno dull days; if you're bored, go to the beach. Bury your feet in the warm sand.Lie back on your elbows and feel the sun's magical presence engulfing your bodyin a warm cast, as the ocean sprays its cool mist over you. Tilt your head backand let the light breeze flow through your hair. Breathe in. The cool air fillsyour lungs, and off in the distance you can hear the calming, slow churn of thewaves as they roll in and send a thin mixture of salt and water cascading overthe smooth saturated sand grazing your toes. There are no problems or worries, nothinking about how you did on an English report. It's just your thoughts and thesea.
This is how I feel. This is my life. This is my paradise. This is mypassion.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.