I’m running on the peak of a sand dune, each side sloping down to the beach. Above the dune is nothing but big, puffy, clouds in an enormous, blue sky. I run into the wind. The sand grasses move to and fro and I can hear the roaring of the beach. I am weightless, alive, as I keep running. I notice the air turning colder and as I look around, I realize someone is stealing my sheets.
I lie on the edge of the bed, a sliver of a sheet against the blasting air conditioner and my elbow begins to itch. Coming back from vacation has been tough. Everyone talks about going on vacation, what they did on vacation, where they went on vacation, blah, blah vacation. No one who comes back from their little moment in paradise wants to talk about the cruel reality of getting up for work again nor do they wish to speak of the greater hatred of the alarm clock. Oh, how the time that only moments ago was all yours and only yours is now swallowed up by laundry, grocery shopping, and tasks you put off until your return. The mosquito bites and third degree sunburn I worked so hard to avoid vex me in vicious tandem as I painfully and relentlessly scratch at my arms, back, legs, nose. Maybe it isn’t hives, maybe it was poison ivy, but it all becomes unbearable – miserable reality without a midday cocktail and a steady stream of Aerosmith.
I don’t how I complained as a kid on summer days whining, “I have nothing to do.” Why wasn’t swimming all day enough? My feet were always barefoot. My friends were always coming up with new games – freeze, statues, kick the can. And when the street lights came on, you went home. Like a pack of gypsies, the entire four block radius was the playground for my neighborhood posse. Bologna with ketchup was our filet, tuna fish with pickles our seared ahi, grilled cheese sandwich with American slices our guilty desire. We woke with the sun, we ran with the wind. Now I spend a few measly days each summer attempting to recapture just a little of the freedom I took for granted. There I was. Me in my purple shorts with the red pockets and my t-shirt with my name written on it a hundred times in multiple colors.
If I cannot run weightless with sand dancing all around me , then I must go on somehow in denial that my childhood has ended. I pack my lunch with low-fat yogurt, 2% mozzarella cheese sticks, and a hint of sodium crackers. Rebelliously, I include a stuffed bag of cookies . I might as well find solace in sugar. I mean, really, it’s the kitchen’s little beach isn’t it? It moves like sand, it fills your soul like sand, and brings a little sunshine to chocolate chips and vanilla. Maybe I will sit in my car at lunch with my shoes off, stare out my sunroof, and listen to Deep Purple.