Just A Boy At The Beach

Sometimes, when you live at the beach, it’s possible to take it for granted.

Not so much if you are an adult who, for example, grew up in the Midwest far, far from any ocean.

But if you are a boy who, oh say, has lived on a small island in the Atlantic since you were two years old, you might just sometimes think, on days when you are feeling particularly lazy and particularly into the video game you are playing, for instance, that the ocean is scarcely more noteworthy than a large mud hole, or a patch of Kentucky Bluegrass, or even an asphalt drive (if the game is going in your favor, anyway).

So imagine your indignation when you are deep in the throes of a Star Wars battle, and your mother has the audacity to suddenly insist that you pause the battle, grab your shoes and head to the beach.

It is a heavy cross to bear.

Imagine your grumbling that naturally bursts forth on way to the beach, your moaning over precious time lost battling Darth Vader and all the greater forces of evil, your lethargic lumbering moves toward the beach, your face long and drawn.

Imagine that moment, however, when the ocean first comes into view and, after a brief pause, you find yourself running, running, scrambling over tiny rivers and tidal pools, clearly seabound.

You’re intrigued by the jellyfish dotting the shoreline, more of them than you’ve ever seen at once before. Then, without realizing how you started, you find yourself making up games as you go, dodging real jellyfish and imaginary sharks and rivers of lava as you race across the beach, trying not to get wet only because it’s part of the game. You call it your own beach video game of sorts, a video game come to life.

Next thing you know, you are on hands and knees digging, fingers deep in the sand, your siblings digging beside you, widening the tiny tidal rivers already there.

Your fingers touch a crab. You pick it up and hold it, feeling its claws, watching it move across your hand.

Before you know it, you, the boy who didn’t want to come, are caked with sand, following the crab as it crawls along, brother and sister close behind.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when it is not you but your mother who, nearly two hours later, insists that it is time to leave.

You agree, standing and brushing the sand off yourself, and you walk away from the beach without saying much, followed by first your brother,

and then by your sister.

Imagine your mother’s shock, then, when it comes out later that you acquiesced not because of a desire to resume your battle, but instead only because of your hunger.

Leave a Reply