Horizon Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 25, 2012
97 steps from a tiny tattered beach,
Frequented by gnats and 70-somethings,
The Edge of the World, CT

There it is: the address to my sun-cracked seaside home. You did ask for my address, right? I live on the horizon.

Years one through 16 belong to blue-framed sunrises, sunrises sandwiched between the serene blue-black ocean and a passionate periwinkle sky. Growing up on the edge of the world, though, I had no time to bask beneath them. Ocean-side is a busy place to be a kid.

At first the callused toes ached and the charred heels throbbed. Four years old and my feet begged to surrender to the scorching sand. But my overbearing imagination made their yelps subside. I constructed sandcastle stories that kept me on the beach until after the sand cooled. I decorated castles with seaweed and took my baby sister shell-hunting. We mixed mud royally and, when the destructive tide rolled in, sat with sand in our pants and watched in wonder. The world was strange, sometimes, in its knack for destroying beauty.

We were babies on the beach, but we knew that much. And when the tide washed away all but our secret knowledge of the world, the horizon was left to look at. We looked, but we didn't see. The horizon was all we had ever known. As babies, it just meant home.

My older childhood was normal, minus a few salty-sea exceptions. I was late to three years' worth of piano lessons, swinging in the door at five past with freshly sunburnt cheeks. While I waited to audition for community theater, I shook sand out of my hair, and when showtime neared it was always a struggle to stop the day mid-adventure and race to rehearsal. We lived at the world's edge, but I never had time to think twice about it.

Every year summer leaves suddenly on September 1, taking with it hot happiness and tanned summer friends. Although winter destroys beautiful summertime, in my shabby beach town a freedom like no other remains. Left with the gnats and 70-somethings, our winter beach community does not have a lot of money. Instead, we have a lot of memories. And, of course, the view. We have three seasons to wonder about the horizon.

A few years ago I started passing long winter days staring at the ledge where water swallows the sky. Now when I look, I see breathtaking beauty in the wrinkled sea and the way the sun sashays on its surface. The mile-long ocean reflects the life I've led at the beach, a life of freedom and adventure – a life on the edge of the world. And lately, when my eyes meet the horizon, I am struck with a new sense of wonder. A pulsing excitement.

I can't wait to explore the horizon I've watched all my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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mahogany165 said...
Dec. 2, 2012 at 11:33 am
I don't know what the promt was but this essay was amazing! You'll get in anywhere with this :)
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