My sister asked for the next installment of the novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo, so here it is, for my audience of... ten? twelve maybe?
Auntie Laine parked the car and plugged the meter with a few quarters. Then she took me by the hand and said, "Come on, my favorite niece," (I'm her only niece) and I walked with her down the sidewalk toward the beach. All I really wanted to do was see where I was going to be living for, for, who knows how long, but instead I followed her down a steep sidewalk toward the beach.
Auntie Laine was wearing flip flops, a tank top, and a little skirt that flounced with every step. She belonged here in this world. It had been cloudy and rainy when I'd left Portland so I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt from my soccer league and grey Converse low tops. The sun shining off the ocean looked like glitter scattered across a crinkled of piece of blue construction paper and I couldn't look at it without squinting. I was getting sweaty and wished I had sunglasses.
We reached the sand and Auntie Laine waited for me as I slid off my shoes and socks. Beads of sweat started to drip one by one down my back and the sand was hot on the soles of my feet but Auntie Laine seemed determined to get to a shoreline crowded with sunbathers and kids splashing in the break. The temperature dropped as we got to the water. I stopped and sat on the sand to roll up my jeans so I could dip my toes in the water.
Auntie Laine neared the water. She hadn't noticed I'd stopped following and walked straight into the surf. She must have felt my eyes on her though because she turned and waved for me to join her, ankle deep in the water. I stood up and walked toward her, a feeling rising up as I neared her silhouette against the shimmering wall of water. Maybe it was because she reminded me of mom, standing there in the water, her hair pulled back in a ponytail, reaching back for me.
For a second I wanted to cry but then a breeze blew past and I took a deep breathe of salty, ocean air. I closed my eyes and walked toward my auntie, my mom's sister who was so much like Mom and still completely different. For a minute I stopped worrying about being dressed all wrong for the beach, or that I was thirsty and really wanted a pop with lots of ice or that my stomach was growling. I forgot that I was stuck living here for good, that this wasn't just a summer vacation.
For a second I felt happy and I let the happiness wash over me like the waves rushing across my feet. I let the water pull at some of the heavy weight that I had carried down with me and let it wash out to sea.