Posts Tagged ‘shore’

Along the Shoreline

August 20, 2011

We take our teenager to the beach today. He wants to show off his new swimming trunks, splash in the surf, girl-watch, and ride a few waves. Bruce and I don’t have to run after Ryan now, we can sit in beach chairs and let him swim on his own. He keeps us in sight; and while Bruce naps behind dark shades, I look up from my book every so often to make sure I see Ryan’s head bobbing above the waves.

 Bruce and I gave up worshiping the sun awhile back. We are content to sit in our folding chairs under the shade of a striped umbrella, share a smoked turkey sandwich with tomato slices from the garden and a bag of potato chips. He drinks iced tea and I pull a bottle of water from the cooler for myself. Between chapters and naps, we chat about our boys, Ryan’s upcoming school year, and Ben’s obsession with finding a truck.

Bruce takes off his glasses, pushes up from the arms of the chair, sneaks me a kiss, and grabs the boogie board, heading in Ryan’s direction. I know how the water draws the boy in Bruce to it. His strides are long and sure as he steps into the surf. I grab the camera and run to the water’s edge to capture a father/son moment.

As I make my way back to the umbrella, I hear the cell phone ringing in the side pocket of the cooler. I answer the phone to my Dad’s voice. It’s been almost a month since my step-mother died. The loss has been hard on him. They’d been married thirty years. We talk for a few minutes about the weather, our vacation, and the boys.

“What have you been up to?” I ask.

“Cleaning out drawers,” he says, with a small catch in his voice.  I want to reach through the phone and hug him.  “I clean awhile and cry awhile,” he says. “When I can’t take it anymore, I go outside. That helps.”

“You know Labor Day Weekend is coming up,” I say. “Why don’t you plan a trip to our house and join us for a picnic?”

I hear him flipping the pages on his desk calendar, the one that has all of his and my step-mother’s doctor’s appointments written in it. “I could come for a few days,” he says. “My dentist appointment isn’t until the following Wednesday.”

I tell him I’ll invite his sister, my Aunt Marsha, Bruce’s parents, our friend Robert, and his girlfriend.

“Tell your Mom and Gilly to come too,” he says.

“OK,” I say. “We’ll make a day of it.”

“I’ll be in touch before the first of September,” he says.

“Do you need anything?” I ask.

He pauses, a long pause. “No,” he says in a very small voice.

“I love you,” I say.

“I love you too,” he replies, and the line disconnects.

I hang up the phone and look out to the horizon, catching a glimpse of my husband and son, riding waves and splashing each other. I pick up the camera again and walk toward them.

In the periphery of my vision I catch a glimpse of a military cap, the kind my Dad wears with the name of his ship, The USS America on it. I turn and find it on the head of an elderly man who’s walking hand in hand with the woman he loves.

I follow them for a few minutes, watching as they take slow, careful steps along the shoreline. They don’t talk, but every once in a while one squeezes the hand of the other.

 I lift my camera to take a picture. I want to capture this moment, not for them, but for myself.

I feel a cold spray on my back. I turn to find my husband cupping more water in his hands to splash me again. I put the camera in my pocket and bend down to the water to give him just as good as he gets.