Salty Memories

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short insight piece that shows the way children grow up over the years and change their opinion on the little things in life.

Submitted: November 26, 2016

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Submitted: November 26, 2016



Every time I am on a balcony, I dream of the sea. I could be in the middle of Lancaster city, staring out over an immense sea of buildings, but I will still be longing for the ocean’s kiss. All throughout my childhood my family has gone to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina every year. One of my favorite parts as a child was the large balcony we almost always had with our hotel room. I liked to sit and gaze at the ocean, trying to see the entire way across its large expanse to the other side. I would close my eyes and feel the sea breeze gently sweeping over my face. I would revel in the warmth and freedom that is summer. This is why I am always taken back to that place when I am on a balcony.

It’s early in the morning, way too early for any normal child during the summer to be awake, but the four children are. They clamor about, grabbing swim suits and sunglasses, and preparing themselves for the beach. The smell of Belgian waffles permeates the air. The waffles seem to be the only thing that can convince the children to stop their hurried preparations. They throw themselves into their chairs and scarf down the waffles, covered in whipped cream and syrup. Only the beach brings enough excitement to rouse children this early in the morning, and only the delicious smell of waffles can tear their minds away from the ocean.

Sun block is an awful thing. The children squirm about, trying desperately to escape their parents grasp. Preparing for the beach seems to take hours, as none of the children are yet old enough to apply it themselves. Mommy is better than Daddy at putting on sun block, because Mommy’s hands are soft and gentle, while Daddy’s are rough and covered with calluses from long days of work. They beg the children to stand still in order to be able to cover their bodies completely. Sun block is a necessary evil that scares away its sinister counter-part, sunburn.

After a wonderful day at the beach, it is time for the family to leave. There is only one problem; the gritty sand seems to be completely covering each child’s body from head to toe. The children roll around in the sand and the water, without a care in the world, which makes for an excess of sand build-up. Once again, the children are nearly helpless to get the sand off of themselves, so their parents apply liberal amounts of baby powder to shake some of the scratchy stuff off. Somehow the sand will still manage to be all over the hotel room.

As the family approaches the door to the hotel room, one crucial question hangs in the air. Which of the children will be given the honor of using the special key to get into the hotel room? Before the door is even in sight all four are sprinting down the hallway, vying for that first spot at the door that allows them to use the key. The neighbors on the first floor must be angry at all the thumping, and their parent’s repeatedly chastise them to walk and be quiet. However, there is no reasoning with four competitive children in a race to the door.

Showers have been had and dinner has been eaten, and the family is ready to sit down and enjoy the rest of their night watching a movie or television show. To the children this is a thrill, because the television in the hotel room is much larger than the one they have at home, and there seems to be a million channels. Their parents laugh at their awe, knowing that the children have chosen to watch shows that are several years old, rather than newer shows, because they do not know the new shows exist. Eventually, all four children fall asleep on the couch, tired out from a long day.

Many years have gone by. At the beach life is different. The children sleep until ten in the morning, there is no way you would see them before nine. The pull of the beach has begun to wear off. They sleepily drag themselves from their beds, and go instantly to the couch. Their phones are constantly in hand, and it seems as if no one is excited for the beach at all. For breakfast, everyone pours themselves a bowl of cereal, the smell of Belgian waffles long forgotten. They lazily slurp their cereal, dreaming of the extra sleep they could have gotten.

Sun block goes quickly now, and seems to be an idle task. Every child fully capable of putting on their own, the parents are nearly useless now. They put their bathing suits on with the same amount of enthusiasm they got through breakfast with, and begin slathering on the correct product. SPF 50 for the porcelain skinned daughter who does not want her skin damaged, SPF 15 for the daughter with olive skin who desires nothing more than to get a nice tan, and SPF 30 for the boys, who do not seem to mind their farmer’s tans at all. Every once and a while you hear someone ask for help reaching their back, but nobody has a preference as to who puts on their sun block, for Daddy’s hands have long since lost their calluses.

The beach day is much shorter than it used to be, and the process of removing sand is similar to sun block. Every child for themselves. The fair skinned daughter needs only to dust off her feet; sand has been grossing her out for years now. The only child who still rolls in the waves occasionally is the youngest boy, but he has a knack for rinsing himself off after. Dusting things off moves quickly and there is not nearly as much sand in the hotel as there used to be.

When the family approaches the room, there is no excitement. All four children are on their phones, posting pictures of the beach or texting their boyfriend they have waited all day to reach. They leisurely stroll down the hallways; the neighbors must be so pleased. The key to get into the hotel room has somehow lost its magic in the past years. If anything, the key is just a hassle, something Mother should do quickly, because on the other side of that door is food, a couch, and a charger for the various electronics.

The shower routine has stayed the same, and the family still eats dinner together. Afterwards, they still enjoy watching a movie or a television show. However, the television is much smaller in the hotel room than the one at their house, and is lacking some of the thousands of channels they own. The oldest son bemoans the fact that he will miss his show this week, because the hotel does not have the channel, while the olive-skinned daughter simply goes out to the balcony to read.

One thing has not changed over the course of the years that my family has gone to the beach. I still love the balcony, I love to sit and read, and be kissed by the salty air. I no longer try to see across the ocean, because I know it is impossible, but sometimes I dream of what is over there. I enjoy the feeling of warmth creeping over my face, much as the wrinkles have begun to crept across my mothers, and wonder if one day, the beach will lose all sense of magic for me. 

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