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Day at the Beach
Excitement jumped throughout my four-year-old body, so much so that my mother couldn’t control me on the car ride. Slowly but surely, the pine trees from home became palm trees right before my eyes. What is this beach going to look like? All of my friends talked about this beach as if it were some type of paradise for any kid. One of my friends told me that she made a castle with her bare hands! Another one told me she got eight different flavors of ice cream all on one cone! But… nobody told me about the mysteries that a beach can hold from everyone. Nobody told me what to fear that day. Why not?
Long, grassy land soon turned to pale, brown grains. When I felt the car stop, I began bouncing up and down from my seat. I took the seat belt off by myself and opened the car door as quickly as I can. As I was running, I felt my dad grab me and throw me over his shoulders. “Come on, you,” he said as he gave me a noogie. Dangling upside down, I watched my mom and my older brother Danny pick up supplies from the trunk. A little boy in the car next to us cried on his mom’s shoulder as they came closer to the beach. “I don’t wanna go in the water!” He sobbed and screamed as his mother tried to shush him and calm him down. Water? There’s going to be water? My family laughed at my chanting of excitement; I didn’t even bother to contain myself.
My mom and brother followed my father and I, my father leading the way. Once I stopped moving, he picked me up and set me on the ground. Blue waves crashed terribly loud against the shore. The scratchy sound of seagulls irked me as they freely roamed the beach and dived in the ocean. Despite the noise, there was a certain silence that deafened me, that made me apprehensive.
As other people ran toward the water, others were already enjoying it, splashing, laughing, and forgetting the long car ride because they’re finally here! Unfortunately, my parents refused to go into the water until they were “warmed up.” I sat next to my brother. The dull day soon dawned upon me; when would this feeling stop?
“Mom, can we build a sand castle?” my brother asked.
“Sure you can!” She put her tanning on hold and looked in the beach bag. “Honey, where’s that sand castle kit?”
My father’s guilt exposed itself through his puppy brown eyes. “I would’ve sworn I put them in there,” he said quietly.
I felt my mom’s piercing eyes, even through her sunglasses. She settled herself back on the towel and returned to her sun bathing. My dad sighed in embarrassment. “Sorry, kids.” He also went back to sun bathing and closed his eyes with my mom.
“What do we do now?” I asked Danny.
“I don’t know, do you have any ideas?”
“We can get ice cream and get all the flavors we want!” I got excited once again, “Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chocolate… anything!”
“No way!” my mom interjected, “The ice cream costs way too much around here! You guys can wait until we get home.”
I sighed aloud. “Now what?” I whispered.
Danny’s eyes became devilish, then he looked at the ocean. He whispered, “let’s go swimming!”
“But we always need a parent to go swimming with us!”
“So? I’m going to turn nine in less than a month. I’m your older brother, I know what’s right and what’s not.”
I stared at the ocean that gave me chills, and then the people having fun in it. Why are you so afraid? Don’t be a big baby! “Fine, let’s go.”
My brother and I slowly escaped from my parents and stuck our feet on the cold, moist sand. Lingering waves hit my feet so delicately, it was scary. The water soon faded back to the ocean, somewhat pulling me with it. I took a step forward, and screamed in pain. A tiny shell pierced the bottom of my foot. Specks of blood dribbled like a drooling baby. I slowly took steps backwards toward my parents.
“What do you think you’re doing!” Danny shrieked. “If we go back now, mom and Dad will never forgive us!” Guilt froze my body, leaving me numb. This is the wrong thing to do. He sighed and took a dive in the water. “Just jump in!”
I did as I was told. My numbness was forgotten once I felt the freezing, unforgiving water all through my little body. My brother lifted his hand up from the water; some white plastic dangled from his index finger. “Want to wear them?”
“What is that?” I asked as salt water entered my mouth.
“Goggles! You get to see what’s really in the water with ‘em.”
I felt nervous for some reason. Something kept pulling me back from having fun at the beach. My brother rushed me to make a decision, and I gave in. I put the tight plastic around my head. He said to hold my breath and go in the water, swim around for a little bit, then come back up when I felt tired. I went under with my eyes closed for a little while. I slowly opened them, shocked beyond belief.
What is THAT! What is that HUGE monster!?
I sprang up from the ocean floor and kicked my feet and waved my hands, screaming for help. I was practically at the shore until the water pulled my back in. I stopped dead in the sand when I heard a loud siren from the lifeguard’s booth. “Please evacuate the water immediately!” I heard. My brother dragged me by my wrists to the dry, hot sand.
My parents sprinted their way toward my brother and I, looking like they just saw a ghost.
“What were you two thinking!” My mom shrieked, “There were sharks in these waters, we told you not to go in the ocean by yourself! And what happened to your foot, sweetheart? What happened!”
I crunched myself in a ball and began to cry. I apologized with every ounce of breath I could obtain. My father wrapped me in a towel and put me back in the car. I dried my eyes and looked out through the window. Everybody was leaving, packing their things in their car, looking disappointed. As I stared at everybody out of my window, and man and his wife were leaning against their car, talking about their day at the beach that came to an abrupt stop.
“Thank goodness nobody got hurt, huh?” He said.
“Absolutely, I don’t know what I would do if I were looking straight at a shark.”
My eyes slowly began to shut, my mind elsewhere. I stopped, squinted a bit, then my eyes opened rapidly. “There it goes again! Mommy! Mommy! The shark’s there!”
My mom ran to the back, comforting me. “Sweetie, it’s just the man’s shirt. You’re not in trouble anymore.”
What ruined my day was not listening to my instincts; knowing what was the wrong thing to do, and doing it anyway. The back of that shirt held the terror and fear I now had to succumb to today.