Two teenage girls find summer love on California beach.
| The summer of my fifteenth year, I was boy crazy, or more specifically, male crazy.
My best friend, Sandy, and I started going to the beach to improve our tans and “scope out guys”. We attended a private girl’s school, so the search for suitable male species was more difficult for us than for some. The beach was made for summer romance.
We took the bus to the postcard-perfect coast as we were, as I have pointed out, only in our mid teens, and our permits to drive were more than a year away in our futures. We sat way in the back where we were relatively unnoticed in our bus-riding humility. The trip was short; straight down Wilshire Boulevard to its end. We departed and walked down the cliff to the beach below.
We had been to the Beach Club’s beach at the end of the Sunset Boulevard‘s bus route, but the crowd was usually mostly female adults. The few teenage sons there were as desperate as we, so we avoided it from then on. We had found our haven at Sorrento with its grill, its wide strip of sand, and its life guard.
It did not take us long to fall in love. First, Sandy found a guy who worked in the grill who saw over 100 teenage girls everyday. She was sure she was special to him.
"I could tell by the way he said "here you go", when he handed me my burger. He also told me where the napkins were."
I was skeptical and I told Sandy so, but when he showed up at our small square, two towel bit of the beach later in the day, I had to hand it to her. She had the looks, the smile, and evidently the ability to attract.Her success urged me on. Anything was possible.
Me, I fell for the lifeguard in Station 12. There was absolutely no way I was ever going to have so much as a conversation with this guy, let alone anything more. It was a sad tale of unrequited love. He was a god and my ideal, so I worshiped him, if only from afar.
He was the color of Tonto, with blond hair bleached to white at the tips. He wore a triangle of zinc oxide on his nose like a Jack O’Lantern. With well defined muscles and a little hair on his chest, he was as male as I could imagine. Again, this was a guy who saw more than his fair share of mooning, gawking, teenage girls over the summer season. He had curvy adult woman in bikinis walking by hour after hour. I had the benefit of breast, but my body was still suffering from adolescent pudginess. I had no chance of getting his attention, but it was love for me, and I had no good sense about it. I melted every time he walked by, and when he swam out to save a child tumbling in the surf, I was smitten.
For our first few trips, I didn’t even know his name. On the third trip, the riptide was strong enough that he stood guard at the shore with a life belt, watching the bodysurfers and watching for anyone swimming out too far where the current would carry them sideways making it impossible to get back to shore. As another tanned, godlike man ran by mine, he called out, “Hey, Danny!”
“Danny”, I said it over and over. I played word games and rhymes with it. I wrote it in various scripts, and I imagined the day when I would be close to him, speak his name, and he would love me more because I already knew it.
It would only take three more visits before my chance would come. That day, it was not a riptide that was causing trouble but an onslaught of jelly fish. Don’t know why the floating umbrellas were around sometimes and many times not. There were days when you would walk the beach, a necessary activity in attracting attention, and there would be hundreds of dead jelly blobs on the shore.
I was swimming to cool off and take a few waves. I had learned to bodysurf, and I was addicted. I would bob in the waves waiting for a good one and then take off like a mad woman to torpedo in front of the wave toward the beach. If I were in the right position, the feeling of the wave propelling me forward was exhilarating.
While bobbing, I felt a sting across my foot. It remained, a dull sting, and then was joined by another on my thigh. It felt like someone was holding a curling iron up to my skin. I signaled to Sandy who was a few swimmers away, and she joined my departure from the ocean, seeing me grimace in pain.
"Deb, what is it?" she asked, but I could not speak.
By the time I hopped out of the ocean’s pull, I was crying. My whole leg was on fire, and I was afraid to look down and see it scarring before my eyes. I just sat on the beach holding my leg when I heard his voice come up behind me. By now, a small group of onlookers were gathered and I heard their consensus,”jelly fish sting” and “ouch”, neither of which was soothing. But when I heard Danny say, “Please step back”, I forgot all about my pain.
“Wow, that’s a bad one,” my god said, looking at my thigh. I looked down for the first time and saw what looked like a whip lash or at least how they looked in the movies. A thin, very red to almost bleeding stripe ran from one side of my leg to the other like a slash from Zorro.
I waited patiently for Danny’s care, he bent so closely, I might have swooned, but I didn’t want to miss any of my time with him. He took a spray can from his Red Cross bag. His shorts were exactly the same color as the cross. I stared down unable to look into his eyes. His arms were covered with small curlicues of blond hairs. His legs looked strong enough to pull a wagon, and they were inches from mine. He sprayed the welt and the smaller one on my foot which not only stopped the pain but immediately seem to lessen the redness and the swelling.
“Is that better?” he asked, still holding the spray can.
“Yes, much” was all I had breath enough to say, and smiled, still looking down.
“Any other places?”
I shook my head. “I don’t think so.” Then I looked up and he was looking right back with the heavenly gaze I never expected to share. He cared about me. He reached out and put his hand in mine to help me up. I stood up as quickly as I could, not wishing to appear disabled in any way for our future together. I brushed the sand off my butt, shyly. He was talking on a walkie-talkie to the life guard at Station 13 who had seen the commotion.
“No, she seems fine, a good sport.” He looked right at me and smiled with beautiful teeth.
I was a good sport. Of all those women who hung around his station, and all the flirting girls he had come in contact with, how many did he ever call a “good sport”? None, I am thinking.
“Probably ought to stay out of the water for today. Jellyfish stings hurt. Bactine works. You’ll be fine,” he surmised. This was my chance to say his name and announce my devotion, but I was silent. We walked together as a couple for a few yards down the beach. He was mine, and I was certainly his. Then he trotted off diagonally in the direction of his throne at Station 12.
For the rest of that month, if I saw “Danny”, I smiled and he would nod or smile back. I had that much of a relationship with him. I replayed him talking to the other life guard a hundred times and heard him say, “good sport”. I pictured his smile with big white teeth, but I never bothered him. By the end of the month, my fickle attention had landed elsewhere. My new love was the long haired boy from the Valley who wore Hawaiian shorts and bodysurfed better than anyone else. ~1420 words