Sunny Days

March 16, 2012
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It was a bright and sunny afternoon in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The sun beat down on my back as I leaned down to scoop up some soft, grainy sand. The gentle waves instantly calmed me with their soft WHOOSHING. Soon, I began to block out all other sounds. Whoosh. Whoosh. As I looked out across the deep blue, I realized what a clear day it was. I could see out for what seemed like miles. The water was a rich, navy blue that clashed against the bleached sand. People screamed and laughed in the distance.

“Rianna?” my step-mom, Tatyana, called to me from far away. Even though her Russian accent was wearing off a bit, my name still sounded like Vianna when she called to me.

I lifted my head slowly and was vaguely aware that it was sandwiches in her hand as I smiled. Lazily, I motioned for her to come to me, not wanting to move from the nice hole I’d dug to lay in. It sheltered me just enough from the sun, but still allowed me to have my feet in the warm water at the very edge. Calmly, she shook her head as she stamped her foot in the sand and pointed to right next to her.

I sighed sadly as I stood and began to walk towards her, watching the kids run by me and fall into the hole, giggling and splashing at the water’s calm edges. Deep inside, there’s a hope that my spot will still be there when I’m done eating, even though I know high tide will come in ten minutes or less; wiping away all evidence that any human being had sat there for as long as I had.

Tatyana smiled at me as I sat on the sand, making a soft plump.
“You are getting redder by the minute. Put on some more sunscreen before you go back out,” Tatyana threw a sandwich at me.

Shaking my head, I took the sandwich and began walking towards the shore, looking for another spot. The waves were crashing against the shore now, causing me to smile. High tides were the best at Ft. Walton Beach. Pensacola and Destin had moderate waves, but these were monsters. I tossed my sandwich into the sand because I was done eating and took a step into the water. Crash! Then another and white foam spurting up into the air. Crash! And another until, finally, I was in water up to my chin, swallowing some of the salty water.

Sunny days mean two things at Ft. Walton: a nice, clear view of all the creatures under water and brilliant waves for surfing. I pulled my goggles over my eyes, and waited. I let myself drift farther out into the wide, open sea with every back lash of a wave.... until I’d finally found the perfect wave coming towards me. I dove under water after taking a deep breath and watched everything shift. Being on a wave is one thing, being under a wave is another.(Plus, I could never stand up on a surf board no matter how hard I tried, so this was the next option.) You almost never saw tourists drifting with the waves, only locals.
Thousands of fish swam around me, towards me, under me, and above me; tickling my stomach and back. As I dove a little deeper down, I saw more and more types of fish. Green, blue, red, yellow, big, and small minnows. All kinds. I blew air out of my nose as I pushed up towards the surface, an act called decompressing.

Yells of joy from younger kids, and screams of “YEAH!!” from surfers met me at the surface. I took a big gulp of air and slowly began breathing easier. I looked towards the shore and saw people playing in the sand, and a line of people on surf boards waiting for the next big one. I thought to myself, “ And this would be the only problem of wave drifting.... getting back. Time to get through the surfers, Rianna. Smooth move.”

I raised my hand up and waved. As I got more and more of them to look at me, I pointed to the next wave, telling them it’s mine and not to get on it. I saw nods from afar. I looked and could tell that this was the perfect wave to get me back to shore. I took a deep breath and began the journey home.
As I swam into the wave, I felt the exhilarating rush of doing flips under water. When the wave ended, I was half way to the shore, gasping for air. I began floating on my back. Slowly, my mind began drifting off like a fish caught in a current. Sleeping was not an option, but day dreaming was just imagining being caught in the wave again.... Twirling endlessly, your body being just one with the wave.

“Rianna!!! I thought you’d died!!! Don’t you ever do that again, you brat! What would I have told your father if you’d drowned? Huh?” Tatyana was already yelling at me, giving me a lecture that was not necessary.
“He does it too,” I whined.
“Well, you're as red as a lobster!!!”
“So are you.”

Tatyana snorted and shook her head, then pointed towards the car. I could tell she was really mad at me because her face was red and she shook her fist as she yelled, but I honestly didn’t care. Instead, I ran back into the water and dove under. When I stood, I was waist deep. Deciding that it was not a good idea to stay out in the sun much longer, I began walking to the car. I slumped into the front seat and was sulking all the way home.
“Rianna, how was your day at the beach?” Dad asked me as I stepped out of the car.
“Great. Until Tatyana ruined my fun,” I tattled.
“How’d she do that?”
“She wouldn’t let me go wave drifting after the first time.”
“That’s too bad.”
I nodded in answer and walked to my room to change. My dad and Tatyana began to argue.
“It’s too dangerous, Larry!!!”
“She knows what she’s doing!”
I walked into the living room in the middle of the argument and cut Tatyana off.
“Dad, she just doesn’t get what sunny days are about,” I turned to Tatyana, “Taty, sunny days here all about just enjoying the time we have with each other. Wave drifting is just something I do to enjoy the few days I go to the beach while I’m here. I only have two and a half months here, Taty. Let me enjoy sunny days.”

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