The waves crash onto the shore one after another, the sound lulling me into a trance. Stretched out on my yellow and navy beach towel, I feel the heat of the sun on my skin. Sweat drips off me. It is time. I am ready.
I rise and carry my foam noodle under my arm like a football to the shoreline. Grains of wet sand massage my soles as I near the edge of the blue-green water. Stockton stands next to me. My cousins swim in the ocean already, their voices carried to my ears in the humid breeze.
I wait for the pause between waves then seize my opportunity, running into the salty liquid and diving under the surface. The cool water muffles noise. I resurface for a breath. Stockton paddles beside me. I let the sunlight warm my face as I bob in the water. The bright noodle under my pale shoulder blades supports my weight, cradling me in a lazy lounge. I’m buoyed.
I hear more movement in the water, two familiar faces emerge. It’s been years since I went swimming with my parents. We float over waves and chatter in ordinary conversation in a time capsule of joy.
I close my eyes to peace and rock with the ocean. My feet point to the sky, my heart rests at home. I exhale and drift with the tide until my fingers prune and hunger gnaws my belly. I might not be able to stay in tranquility much longer, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.