by Shaara voted
Two little boys were enjoying the beach, but their parents didn't see it.
Two little boys were enjoying the beach, but their parents didn't see it.(A true story)
I was sitting in my maroon and white flowered sand chair attempting to read my book, sipping from a chilled can of pop. The sugared sweetness pleased my mouth with its bubbles and syrup. I wasn’t getting very far in my reading. My barefoot toes kept scrunching sand, stroking the warm top layer and the cool, almost damp sensual pleasure of the feel of the sand deeper down. October brings days of perfection in Ventura, California. The sun warmed my skin delightfully. I wiggled deeper into my sand chair, my toes digging up another layer.
Seagulls flew across the sky, squawking with piercing cries, perhaps complaining over the absence of fish in the swells below. The calm breeze bathed my exposed arms with a salty moisture. The smell of ocean filled my nose with its peaceful calm. Like quiet background music, the repetitive crashes and hushes of the waves made my eyes grow weary. I placed the book down. allowed my eyes to close.
Voices of children woke me. Two small boys, tow-headed blonds, about three and six years old, were being pulled along by their mother and father. The older dragged his feet. The younger one plunked his chubby little bottom every few steps.
At last mother and father gave a sigh and let go of the wiggly hands. The boys collapsed, huge smiles on their faces. Their parents turned to gaze at the ocean as if that had been their plan all along. The adults stood looking seaward, talking about what they planned to do next. Their words, full of Arkansas twang, told me that they were on vacation, determined to see everything before returning home.
But the ocean is like a fine art gallery. You can't just walk through. You need to sit and ponder the paintings, study technique, the artistry, take them into your soul. Would the vacationers be able to see the wonder of the beach?
The two little boys attacked the warm, squishy, liquidy sand. Their hands stroked it, rolled it around in their fingers, splaying it into the air. With their stubby arms they bull-dozed it flat. Then, like miniature construction trucks, they pushed and heaved it from one spot to the other.
The older boy spied a plastic spoon. He pounced on it. Next to the spoon he discovered a long strand of golden-green seaweed. Its tiny pods shone like jewels in the sun. For others, perhaps, the seaweed would be seen as limp and smelly from its exposure to the sun, but the boy saw only its treasure. He scooped it up and untangled it, laying it like a necklace twined around his neck. The smaller boy cried out in jealousy, and so the two shared this precious find, first draping it around one and then rewrapping it about the other, laughing with joy at their silly costume.
Then growing tired of the game, the older boy decided the seaweed should decorate the sand dunes he wanted to create. In the tug-o-war that resulted, the seaweed broke into two pieces. Each boy happily proceeded in his separate activity.
The spoon caused no such problem. The younger boy found a short stick to play with. He created tiny impressions all around his wiggly toes, then dug holes, and streaked the sand with trails and furrows.
The boys studied the way sand slipped through their fingers. They tossed handfuls up into the air and watched it separate into sheets of sand-filled breeze. The younger boy got a piece of sand in his eye. He began to cry. His brother wiped the eye with his own t-shirt, and all was well again.
They buried their toes and hands, giggled when their limbs mysteriously disappeared. They wiggled them free, laughed as the sand slid down their naked legs. As a team, they worked together to mound, squish, and flatten tiny hills. They engineered roads and used the stick and spoon for cars on a racetrack. They discussed a new project. Like two dogs digging for bones, they attacked the ground, tunneled deep into its depths, perhaps in search of buried treasure.
Meanwhile, the parents finished their conversation and looked about. They turned to see what the boys were up to. Their adult heads shook an “oh, no.” Their foreheads wrinkled. The blame for the sand-covered twosome passed like a touch football from parent to parent. The culpability resolved, they set forth to remove the two sandy urchins from both sand and seaweed.
“It’s time to go, boys,” said the father. “We’re going to do something fun.”
“Thomas, Danny, come! We’re going someplace fun now,” repeated the mother.
The boys ignored them. Their little bottoms bobbed up and down from the effort of their digging.
Finally, the parents tried to drag the boys away. The older, Thomas, looked dazed from the shock of finding himself pulled away from his adventure. He clenched his little plastic white spoon, hopeful that his parents' interruption meant only only a temporary halt. His little face filled with horror when the spoon was pried from his hand and carelessly tossed. He watched as it sailed into the air and landed in the sand. His eyes brimmed with tears. He tried again to explain his desire, but the father shook his head, the mother scolded. Thomas sighed, hung his head.
The smaller boy, Danny, was a fighter. His lungs didn’t give a sigh. They exploded into decibels of rebellion. When his seaweed necklace was tossed back into the sand, he yelled, “No!" and struggled to run after it.
“It’s nasty,” his mother said.
The little one didn’t agree. He struggled to get away, fought against the unbeatable strength of his father. Too angry for caution, Danny’s tiny fist slammed into the adult’s big leg. Abruptly Dad gave up trying to reason. He lifted up the bundle of squirming, kicking boy.
The parents and Thomas -- still scuffing the sand with sad little kicks -- and Danny -- aloft and crying with vigor, his little face red and splotchy in distress, slowly walked away.
I wondered where they were headed. I listened, already missing the spectacle of activities the boys had presented. I took a sip from a warm can of pop. The bubbles no longer tickled my mouth, the sweetness of the drink now tasted like old cough medicine. I placed the can down in the sand and took out a fresh bottle of icy water from the cooler. That liquid went down my throat smoothly, refreshingly. I sat back, stretched in contentment, admired the sun’s reflection on the water, the way it sparkled like jewels, rippling with each movement of the surf.
The couple still quarreled over the children’s now dirty clothes as they trudged off through the heavy sand. I never learned their destination, but I heard the mother repeat again, “It’s okay, boys. We’re going someplace fun now.”