Just Being This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“Bumpy, bumpy, bumpy, bumpy, smoooooth,” chant my parents. Right on cue, my brother and I add our voices and laughter. This incantation – now a yearly ritual – seems to somehow magically draw our overloaded car off the ferry and onto the island. It is the one fantasy that we permit ourselves: by saying these words we are transported from “there” (bumpy) to “here” (smooth).

Block Island. The tang of her warm salty breath and the fragrance of her beach plum perfume daintily dabbed behind her ears welcome us again. I can hardly wait to see the house; the one, I, for so many years, believed was ours. I have, of course, come to realize that this cottage is only borrowed, but I also know that what happens here truly belongs to my family alone.

Like molting spiders, we shed our “off island” selves and run up the familiar wooden stairs. We peel away socks and sneakers first, then the tension of work, school, life. My brother, Austin, and I rush into our room and throw our bags onto the beds we sleep in year after year, already untroubled. We stop. “Wait for it …,” my brother instructs; I do not dare move. The crackle on the radio slowly becomes clearer and classical music is soon dancing through the house with the aroma of dinner as its partner. Here, my brother and I are deep friends.

Walking down Mansion Beach Road the next morning, Austin and I run ahead of Dad to get to the farm. The three of us click our tongues and wait for our familiar friends to gallop around the corner and meet us at the fence. I stick my hand out to greet “my” horse. Whiskery and corpulent, he buries his nose in my hand searching for carrots. My brother, on the other hand, stands near my dad. Austin’s horse strains against the fence, also looking for carrots. He is a rich auburn with a white blaze on his face. The horse’s coat is smooth and perfectly in place. My older brother slowly gets up the courage to stick out his hand “nice and flat” with a carrot carefully balancing in his palm. The horse, unaware of Austin’s fear, hastily grabs the treat. I laugh, realizing that he is not as tough and stoic as he tries to convinced me. Or did I convince myself? Here, everything reveals itself for what it really is.

A few minutes later, with boogie boards held high above our heads, we “hang glide” down the skinny path to Mansion Beach, all the while eating honeysuckle, carefully choosing only the yellow ones (the sweetest). Coated with sand like chicken cutlets, we paint rocks (which of course we will sell for a handsome price), search for starfish to add to our collection, and read hungrily under the shade of the umbrella. After lunch, we play two-on-one tackle football, my dad clandestinely mapping out the plays on his sunburned chest. Here, leisure is life’s most important work.

After a luxuriously long day at the beach, each of us, freshly showered, prepares for our final ritual: a family photograph taken on the same steps, at the same time of day, with the same camera propped up on two boogie boards precariously placed on the back of our car. It is this photo that reminds me how deliciously unrestricted we become with each other when given the opportunity to just be. With no other distractions, we sit a bit closer, we laugh a bit louder and we linger a bit longer. Of course, life’s bumps do not magically disappear, but this one enchanted week each July is as smooth and silky as custard.

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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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

AmnyR said...
Sept. 9, 2009 at 7:37 am
this was great, great writting, great story... i loved it!
 
emily S. said...
May 7, 2009 at 3:34 am
what a wondrous family adventure1 ( and a great story!) thanks for sharing your awesome story with us! your a great writer!
 
Block Island Jobs said...
May 6, 2009 at 2:19 pm
Well done. Many people have similar memories of summer on Block Island. That's the magic of the island.
 
RI 531 said...
May 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm
This is an outstanding article that truly catches the spirit of Block Island as a family destination. Logan B. is to be highly complemented on his work.
 
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