The Beach [writing prompt]

by Joe Bunting | 103 comments

PRACTICE

Write about the beach.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, post your practice in the comments section.

And if you post, please comment on a few pieces by other writers.

The Beach

Photo by Vince Alongi

Here's my practice:

On Friday evening, he arrived at the house and immediately got Amber on her leash and went out to the beach. It was a cool summer evening, as only Santa Barbara can be. The tide was out and as he sauntered along the hard, wet sand with his jeans rolled to his shins, the cold waves came up over his toes and ankles. The sun warmed his cheeks and when the light summer wind stirred about him he caught the scent of the seaweed and the more delicate perfume of the saltsand. Amber trotted beside him, and when the wave came close, splashed in, tugging at her leash until the wave went back out.

When he got to the point he let Amber off her leash. She sprung into the waves, her head up and her mouth wide like a smile. He took a deep breath. He thought about what it would feel like to run in after her. He would launch himself over the waves. Foam would spray around him and the water would fill the space between his skin and clothes. It would be cold. When he got in far enough he would dive under the first big wave and his hair would flatten against his eyes. He might laugh. He might try to catch the dog and wrestle her. But that was for children and he didn’t have time for it. He called Amber and turned back toward the white house and walked away.

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103 Comments

  1. Katie Axelson

    Each wave crashed closer and closer to our camp on the warm sand. We embraced the Costa Rican lifestyle and arrived hours before the tourists even considered rolling out of their beds.

    The sand. The thieving monkeys. The warm Pacific Ocean. All exclusively ours to enjoy.

    The last one all too close to enjoy as we watched the waves invade our camp, threatening our peaceful, quiet morning. Surely the water would recede before it reached us.

    At the same moment–too late to do much about it–we all realized that was faulty logic. As the swimmers ran in behind the tsunami, those of us on the this-moment-dry land began frantically groping for our belongings and throwing them further up the hot morning sand. Electronics first, flip flops last.

    The wave crashed somewhere between the pitching of the electronics and the pulling up of the towels. the towels would dry long before we’d be done in the salty bathwater. The flip flops were easy to recover.

    The greatest casualty was my brown journal, grabbed by the vicious water and rushed out to sea. I dove after it, scooping it back into the safety of my arms after the damage had been done.

    Tucked beneath the words and prayers were flowers, leaves, and now sand. The pages holding the nearly-flat items were now crinkled with some added character from the sea adventure. The saltwater submission only added to the story.

    Reply
    • Marla4

       Gorgeous writing.  I love the journal.  Love the journal!

    • Karl Tobar

       Whew that was a close one!  I couldn’t imagine losing all my writing.
      This reminded me of a saying.  “The tidal wave is coming and you’re picking up seashells.”
      Nice work, Katie.

    • Marianne

      I felt like I was right there.  Great writing Katie.  I don’t understand the section that says “the towels would dry long before we were done in the salty bathwater” .  I love the description of the journal in the last paragraph.  

    • Katie Axelson

      Thanks, Marianne. I was trying to say that it was hot so the towels would dry quickly and the water felt good so we didn’t want to get out.

    • Marianne

      Duh, I get it now.  I should have known that.  

    • Joan

      I like this. I cringed when she lost the journal, yet you turned what could have been a hopeless situation into something postive.

    • Tamera

      This makes me want to read more, and that is always a good thing. 

    • Lee

      That vividly reminded me of a crazy time with a rogue wave that my husband had just recently.

  2. Karl Tobar

    I didn’t want to go skinny dipping that evening.  I had no intention of taking my clothes off.  It didn’t matter that they were my best friends.

    The half-sun loomed over the liquid horizon.  I stood barefoot in the sand as my friends jumped off the pier.  Josh dropped his trunks to the ground and flung his shirt at me.  He darted past toward the water, shouting “Woohoo!” as he canon-balled into the ocean.  James went right after him.  I rolled my eyes.  I didn’t understand how they could run around, frolicking about with their bits and pieces dangling in front of God and everybody.

    Jen came up behind me.  “Come on, John!  I’m gonna do it, too.  We’ll do it together.”

    I eyed her quizzically.  “You can’t be serious.  You’re gonna just run around with your tits hanging out, in front of Josh and James?  You’re just gonna swim around with your hoo-ha on display for all the fish?  What if a worm or something swims right on in there?”

    “You are so funny.  Come on, it’ll be fun!”  She slipped her shirt off and let it fall to the ground.  I had to admit, of the four of us, I didn’t mind that Jen was stripping down.  She shook her shoulders at me.

    “Ok, ok.  I’ll do it.  After you.”  She wrinkled her nose and kissed me on the cheek.  She ran off down the peer and jumped in the water.

    I took my shirt off.  Sighing, I dropped my trunks.  I immediately covered my shame with both hands (I would have you believe that I did need both hands for the task).

    I called out to my friends, “Don’t look!”

    “Nothin’ to look at!”

    “No one wants to look at your crusty butt, John!” They called back.

    “Run, John!” I heard Jen call out.

    I took a deep breath and ran down the pier.  The wind hit the front of my body and made my nipples hard.

    I jumped off the pier and brought my knees up to my chest.  I made a splash in the cool water.  I tasted the salt on my lips, felt the water in every pore on my skin.  I treaded water with my chin just resting on the surface of the ocean.  Josh and James were splashing water at each other.  Rachel was floating on her back, her chest facing the sky like two teepees at sunset.

    I wanted to swim to her, but something stopped me.  I felt a sharp pain… down there.  Right on the willy.  It burned something fierce.  My hand tried to cover it and I felt something slimy in the way.  My palm started burning immediately.  Right in front of my face I saw a little clear blob swimming with me.

    “JELLYFISH!”  I cried out.  Everything was blurry.  Josh, or James, somebody pulled me out of the water.  I heard someone say take him to the hospital.  I yelled at them to put my clothes on.  Somebody said no, we don’t have time for that.  Don’t look down, they said.  I looked down, and I wept.  My bits and pieces were red and furious, almost twice the size of what they were supposed to be.  I never imagined a day when that would be a bad thing, until now.

    It will be a cold day in hell when I go back to the beach.

    Reply
    • Marla4

       Wonderful!  I love the line about covering his shame.  Perfect.

    • KP

       Karl I love your story!  Your opening definitely captured the spirit of skinny dipping… too bad about the jellyfish (I wasn’t expecting that at all!  Now I’m kinda scared to go in the water… lol)

      KP

    • Karl Tobar

      My intention was to really play on his fear of being naked.  The journey to the hospital, into the lobby, everyone staring the whole time.  But the timer went off.  🙁  Oh well.  I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Katie Axelson

      I couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to laugh or cry, Karl. Well done.

    • Karl Tobar

       😀 Thank you.  I’d prefer you laugh.

    • Katie Axelson

      Oh good because that’s what I wanted to do. 😉

    • Hilary Schrauf

      Totally!

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      oh man. ha. it would be a long time before i went back to the beach too!!

    • Michael Lund

      Great twist. Wasn’t expecting that at all. A fun read, good job.

    • Marianne

      That was hilarious!  The best part is when he  is sell asking for his clothes when they take him off to the hospital.   

    • Tamera

      I love the tone of this piece.  I could read pages and pages.
      “Covered my shame with both hands,” “chest facing the sky like two teepees at sunset,” “my bits and pieces were red and furious,” all BRILLIANT.  Terrific voice, terrific piece.  Thanks for sharing.

    • Lee

      Very evocative. The outcome after having to build up the courage seemed so cruel!

  3. Marla4

    I have never seen the ocean, but already I don’t like it.  We are driving on this back road in
    California, Dave at the wheel and me clutching the passenger door handle.  It is night, the sky is navy blue, the stars
    like warning lights in the sky.

    I still can’t see the ocean, but I can hear it because Dave has the
    windows down and the radio off.  The sea
    has gnashing teeth, that’s what the sound is like.  There are animals in it as big as my
    house.  The waves crash.  People always say the waves crash, and now I
    know what they mean.  They sound hateful
    against the shore.

    Dave touches my cheek.  “Smell
    that?” he says.  “That’s the smell of life.  Of the beginning of everything.”

    What I smell is fish and old socks and something like wet firewood.

    We are too new to be here together. 
    I met Dave three weeks ago.  At a
    party. When I was with my boyfriend.  My
    boyfriend left the next day, and I called Dave, who’d given me his number on a
    scrap of paper, slipped it into my hand at the end of the night, right before I
    walked out the door.  My boyfriend is out
    of the country now, gone for a month.  Drumming
    up business for his boss, who sells used American clothing to people who still
    think the USA is a mystery to be solved through mimicry and soft denim.  When he comes back I’ll tell him it’s over.  Because it is over.  That is why I’m here.

    Dave pulls off the road, and we bump along onto land that feels uncertain
    under the wide tires of the SUV.  His headlights
    catch the sea, the waves, the endless line that seems to dip past the horizon.

    I pry my fingers loose from the door handle.

    Dave has a flashlight, and he’s guiding me through brush and hills of
    sand, right onto the beach.

    “The ocean,” he says, like he’s unveiling a painting.

    “The ocean,” I repeat, and lace my finger through his.

    The moon is a tambourine in the sky, clouds covering and uncovering it,
    now you see it, now you don’t.

    Far away is a campfire and laughter, and we step across beer cans and
    shells the shape of guitar picks.  I bend
    to take one and hold it tight in my hand.

    “I almost drowned once,” I say. 
    The ocean is so loud Dave asked me to repeat it and I can’t.

    “It’s beautiful, right?” he says. 
    He wants me to love it.  I see in
    him everything I’m not.  With my
    boyfriend, it’s not the same.  We are too
    much alike.  I’d say I was afraid of the
    ocean and he’d say, Well, of course you are. 
    It’s a deathtrap.

    But Dave sees only beauty.  He used
    to surf, he told me on our way here.  He’s
    seen a shark.  Got so close he noticed a
    nick in the fish’s fin.  I felt a chill
    then, that ran to my toes, and back up again until it clutched my heart.

    I reach in my pocket for a cigarette, and pull it out to light it.  Dave stops beside me.  “I thought you were quitting,” he says.

    Here, at the edge of everything, I need a smoke. I need a Xanax, but nicotine
    will have to do.

    Dave cups his hands over mine, and I give the cigarette up, and he holds
    me.  I am shaking.

    “It’s all right,” he says, and offers the cigarette back, but I don’t
    take it.  The sea is rumbling, the spray
    so close now it hits my face.  If I walk
    out three steps I will be ankle deep in the ocean.  If I turn and run I can be back to the car in
    three minutes, tops.  I look at Dave.  I wonder what he sees in me.  You never really know.  I think, if I stay, that he will break my
    heart open and it will either die or fill up with light so bright I will shine
    on nights like this.

    I think I’m ready to shine.

     

     

     

     

    Reply
    • KP

       What an interesting story Marla, I like how you treat the beach almost as its own character (versus a setting).  I can see how if you didn’t grow up near the water it would certainly be a strange adjustment with the noises and smells!  (I’ve never thought about it because I grew up near water but the sea sounding like the “gnashing of teeth” is a great description!!)

      KP

    • Marla4

       Thanks KP.  I grew up in a landlocked state.  The ocean looks like a million ways to die to me.  Although, I can’t deny its beauty!

    • Karl Tobar

       I love how she starts out pessimistic and turns out optimistic at the end.  Nice work.

    • Marla4

       Thank you!

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      “people who still
      think the USA is a mystery to be solved through mimicry and soft denim.” – – awesome.  many lines of awesome here 🙂

    • Marla4

       Thank you so much.

    • Michael Lund

      I like all the description. I can easily picture the scene in my head. Especially like the metaphor with the moon as a tambourine.

    • Marla4

       Thank you!

    • Marianne

      You show the personality of these characters so well, the pessimist and the optimist (or I guess he’s just not a pessimist maybe).  I also see her as someone who is going to make a decision that could alter their life if the relationship is of any duration. I wonder what it would look like to her twenty years down the road.  Very interesting and of course very well written as always.  Thanks Marla!

    • Marla4

       I love it when you read my work.  Such insight. I think you make me better.

    • Oddznns

      I love the last two paragraphs. She’s so scared and she’s choosing hope. Lovely!

    • Marla4

       Thank you.  You’re always so encouraging.

    • Katie Axelson

      I love this, Marla! I love the juxtaposition of their reactions to the ocean and the protagonist’s attempt to find reconciliation but instead she only finds fear. Great description.

    • Marla4

       Thank you Katie!

    • Mirelba

       Another one for the anthology…  Keep it up Marla.

    • Giulia Esposito

      This is very compelling. The character sounds torn up until the very end where it seems she’s willing take to a leap of faith with Dave. I love it.

    • Hilary Schrauf

      Wow – the imagery is really beautiful and strong, and totally supports the emotional energy of the characters. Lovely writing!

  4. KP

    He awoke early, before the sun had even begun to think of arching through the sky.  The alarm bleated at him from somewhere in the darkness and he rolled out of bed groggily, begrudgingly.  Pulling on an old pair of jeans, a grey hooded sweatshirt and his worn out sneakers he left the unmade bed and took only a moment to fish his keys out of the clay dish by the door before slipping out.  This morning was particularly cold, and he shoved his hands in his pockets and missed his gloves.  She had said it in passing a few days ago, just a thought that she’d never had before and would probably never have again, but as soon as she said it he knew he had to find one.

    “These are so pretty!  I’ve never been able to find one on the beach, though,” she cupped the sand dollar in the gift shop gently, then set it back down on the shelf.

    “They are nice,” he’d said this gruffly, because he was already thinking, I would find a million sand dollars for you.  They went to dinner afterwards, and she did not mention the sand dollars again, but they burned in the back of his mind as a small ember, slowly growing to flame.

    Pushing through the dunes, the waist high grass soon fell away and gave way to smooth sand.  Huge, gnarled tree trunks dotted the beachscape, serving as a makeshift breadcrumb trail.  He made a beeline for the water’s edge, knowing if he was to find a whole sand dollar he would have to be further up the shore, away from the seagulls.

    During the day, the beach was a flurry of activity: kite flying, dogs chasing frisbees, people walking along the surf and splashing each other.  A few brave souls would even swim in the icy green-blue water, often diving in and coming back up a moment later, exclaiming at the frigidity.  There were families, teenagers, old men trying to meet the exercise quota set by their doctors.

    Right now, though, it was all his.  Smooth sand, seaweed and the quiet wssshhh of the tide lapping at his feet.  He paused to enjoy the scenery only a moment, then started his search.  Most were broken, chipped or otherwise flawed.  He’d been searching for what felt like forever – he wasn’t sure if he’d ever regain feeling in his face at this point – but then he saw it sticking out of the sand at a ninety degree angle.  A small marker, so easy to miss.  Squatting, he carefully brushed away the sand and seaweed to reveal a small sand dollar, so small it fit easily in the palm of his hand.  Whole.  Perfect.

    He cupped it in his hand gently, lovingly.  He rinsed it off carefully in the tide, then carefully placed it in his pocket.  He would give it to her later this morning, when he brought her coffee in bed.  The perfect sand dollar for the perfect girl.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

       What a sweetheart, that guy.  She’s lucky!

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      love the feel of this.  the cold and the search, overpowered by love.

    • Marianne

      Great description and a touching story.  Well done.  

  5. Tara_pohlkottepress

    Audrey stood with her heels in her left hand.  Her toes dug deep into the sun touched sand. 
    The wind wrapped around her pulling her hair forward across her face, her skirt tight to the back of her long legs.
    The wind seemed to be pulling thought from her mind, too.  Pulling at it until it broke free, dancing high in the draft and soaring over the ocean’s edge.
    This place felt so unfamiliar to her.
    Her, who was raised in the Smokey Mountains, her, who was used to the sharp and jagged rocks of the mountainside under her feet, whose lungs had grown accustomed to the red clay dirt being kicked up along the roads of her childhood.
    The smooth granules under her feet now seemed so foreign.  The ocean air moist and salty made it hard for her to breath; but more than all that, it seemed unfamiliar to face this unknown terrain without him.
    She looked down at her right hand, held in a fist at her side; marked now with age and she realized… even her own body had become unfamiliar.
    The hands at her side were no longer the hands that had held his under the moonlight.  No longer were they the tentative hands of a young mother learning their first child.
    These unfamiliar hands had reached out for the folded flag they had presented her; these hands had clutched the airplane ticket and crumpled it with her first-time flier’s nerves.
    And now, she took in the vastness of the water before her.  She took in the gravity of his last wish-
    “We always had such grand adventures, kid.  Scatter my ashes someplace we’ve never been.  Scatter them where it will remind you to keep exploring. Keep loving. Keep finding this world anew.”
    She raised her right hand holding the last tangible piece of him deep in her fist.  Conscious, as she always would be now, she supposed; of the similarity of weight and texture she held in her hand, and the sand between her toes.
    And she released him into that wind that held her.  She released herself into the unknown.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

       Ohhh that was a good one.  A sense of wonder followed by closure, is what I got from reading this. 
      One small thing: the critic in me wants to cringe at your use of the semicolon.  But I have learned to ignore him unless he is wanted or needed. 🙂

    • Tara_pohlkottepress

      no! I appreciate it.  In these practice pieces I don’t spend a ton of time going over the piece for edits so I appreciate that.

    • Tamera

      I enjoyed the images created with the wind.  I especially liked, “The wind seemed to be pulling thought from her mind”  I could see her.  Nice descriptions.

    • Marla4

       So, so beautiful.  The one line of dialogue is gorgeous.  I love this.

    • Marianne

      I like the idea that the ashes in her hand are similar to the sand.   I think most of us who have thrown ashes into the sea think about that.  It’s like when they say “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” at a funeral.  The entire piece is well written.  I like the detail. I like that the one line of dialogue is meaningful.  Thanks!

  6. Rtravenick

    Every year my brother and I looked forward to July 4th with great excitement and anticipation. After chasing each other around the yard with streaming sparklers, we would watch magical snakes unfold and coil from a tiny pellet lit responsibly by our father. Then, we would climb a ladder to the flat roof of our house and, turning toward the bay, watch the fire works explode and sparkle over the water. Then one year our parents decided to join several other families for a beach party on the Fourth of July. Going to the beach itself wasn’t anything special; we lived in a seaside town and going to the beach was a regular outing for us (especially when my mother needed a break). But going to the beach on July 4th was something we had never been allowed to do. Soon the day arrived and we packed our shovels, beach toys, food and fireworks into the car and set off. It was early afternoon when we parked but already the beach was crowded. The dads immediately grabbed shovels and began to dig a gigantic whole, large enough for twelve people to sit in. I was told that once the fireworks began, the hole would shelter us from the smoke. As my brother and I frolicked in the waves, we could see the dads, torsos glistening with sweat digging while the moms lounged on beach chairs smoking and drinking cans of beer. After a dinner of hot dogs, potato chips and cupcakes, we started to hear the popping of firecrackers and the whistling of Piccolo Pete’s. We lit our sparklers and chased the other kids we knew, the darkness thickening as the air filled with smoke. Soon my brother and I found ourselves separated from our parents who, at the onslaught of the festivities, had retreated to their giant hole. A new sound tore across the beach: the whirring of sirens as ambulances began to arrive. Frightened, we ran for what seemed like hours trying to find anything that looked familiar. Eventually we found our parents and didn’t venture away from our temporary compound after that. The next day we heard that a firework had blown up in the hand of boy my age and he had lost three fingers. We never again went to the beach on the Fourth of July.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

       Ouch!  You really packed a punch with this one.  Good work.

    • Michael Lund

      So many memories of childhood come flooding back when reading this. Well written.

    • Marianne

      How quickly this turns from a wonderful beach party to a disaster.  I don’t understand what happens though. What is the giant hole for, and what happened that called the ambulances.  

  7. Michael Lund

    It was the most beautiful beach he had ever seen. But this was no tropical paradise. The wind whipped at his body with its icy fingers. The tiny grains of sand stung his raw, exposed cheeks as they pummeled his face. He was forced to climb down 100 feet of steep, jagged rocks on a narrow and rut-filled pathway just to reach this sandy wonderland. Between the rocks grew windswept trees with all of their branches and leaves growing on one side of the trunk, like bonsai trees with one side completely removed. The air smelled of salt and dead sea creatures. Despite all of this he found it to be one of the most remarkable places he had ever seen. The scenery was breathtaking with a horizon that dropped of the edge of the world. The compacted sand was the color of a perfectly cooked pancake. There were tide pools with hundreds of tiny crustaceans meandering about. It was a place that had yet to be stained by the intrusion that is the mass of humanity. It was nature, a piece of earth that still was as it was meant to be. It made him feel at one with the world, at peace at last.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

       Perfect!  Sadly, virtually no such place exists that has not been tainted by mankind in one way or another. 🙁
      Your descriptions brought a smile to my face, great job!

    • Marianne

      That is gorgeous!  The details are great.  I can picture it quite clearly.  It sounds amazing and worth climbing down to see.  

    • Tamera

      “the color of a perfectly cooked pancake” – I love that description. 

  8. Marianne

    The beach at Ocean View isn’t as impressive as the one at Virginia Beach.  It’s narrower, dirtier, and the jelly fish are thicker there in the summer, but when it’s warm and the sun shines any beach can seem like paradise. 

    They didn’t have any life guards at Ocean View and when we were kids out mother’s would be so busy smoking, talking, and drinking iced tea out of thermoses, that is was surprising that none of us drowned.  They did stand up and yell when we drifted down a block toward the storm drain pipes.  The storm drain pipes spit out some interesting things sometimes like once a series of TV dinners were spit out, once a life sized baby doll with no eyes, and once a bottle with a note and a cork but the cork had gone down inside the bottle and the note fell apart when we got it out.  Roger Dunchee, who I was not supposed to play with because his parents were divorced told me that a head and two hands came out once and that they belonged to a girl that looked just like me.  I think that was after I told him I couldn’t talk to him anymore because his mother was a divorcee.  

    The worst thing about the Ocean View beach though was there were no leash laws and people let dogs run.  I’m not afraid of dogs except for Doberman Pinschers.  I think I watched too much of the TV show, Matlock. On what seemed like just about every single episode it showed Apollo and Zeus, two Doberman’s who were guard dogs baring their teeth and snarling, while being held back on their leashes or while jumping at a chain link fence.  Or maybe the problem with me and Doberman Pinscher’s is the way they are big dogs but they wiggle and bark like the little dogs, and everyone knows little dogs are nippy.  Anyway I’m terrified of them. 

    When we were about twenty or so, a group of five or six of us were lying in the sun on beach recliners when I saw a pinscher bounding toward us.  

    “Oh a doberman is coming,” I said. “It’s coming this way.  It’s going to bite us.”

    “It won’t bother you,” said Joyce. 

    “I hate them,” 

    “Well don’t start screaming. Be quiet and it will go on past,” said Bonnie.  She lit a cigarette and gave me a dirty look like I was being annoying or something.  

    I tried to be calm. I was in the middle so it would have to tear through someone else to get to me.  I remember thinking that.  I kept my eye on it.  It’s owner was throwing a piece of driftwood for it and it would retrieve it and run back.  I was gleaming black with tan feet and big shiny teeth.  I knew that driftwood had to be full of holes. Driftwood being soft like human muscles.  

    They kept coming down the beach. The owner was young with  a tattoo of an anchor on his chest.  The other girls thought he was good looking. He  threw the driftwood and it landed about ten feet away from us at the edge of the water.  The dog surged forward toward the wood, but passed it.  He came straight toward us. I couldn’t believe it.  I buried my head in my arms.  I held my breath. 

    “Hey boy,” I heard Joyce say.  “He won’t hurt you Marianne.  Just look at him, pet him.” 

    I didn’t move, and then I felt it. I felt a wet, cold nose in the center of my back.  Then one quick lick with a huge tongue.  Worse than watching a horror movie it was.  

    “He’s gone said,” said Joyce.  

    I looked up then and sure enough he was bouncing down the beach in the other direction.  He did look back and met my gaze.  His mouth was open like he was laughing.  

    Reply
    • Marla4

       So much to love here but my favorite has to be the boy with the divorced parents.  I love the way your story unfolds, the rhythm to it, and the gorgeous detail.  The end is perfect.

    • Marianne

      Thank Marla.  I appreciate the time you take to go over my stuff.  

  9. Oddznns

    I will never swim in these waters. Even love can’t make me. They’re not the seas I grew up with, seas warm like bath-water, the waves lapping so soft you can sleep in them.

    This water here bites. And the waves are hungry.  If I were to even try… If I were to strip off this jacket, these socks, these gloves, and run into the churning white like my children are doing, like you, and gran and gramps. 

    It’s a thought. I stop there. I can’t.

    Returning your hello that day, looking into your strange green eyes, that was the hoodie coming off. Saying yes those many months later, after I’d learnt to touch those bleached out eyebrows, that tangle of animal hair on your chest, that was the gloves. And flying over here, learning to live with your people, in your country, that’s as far as I can wade.

    I’m drowning in it already. This life. Our life … Don’t ask me for more.

    Reply
    • Marla4

       I love how this wraps around from the water to an entire life.  I love this line, especially.  “They’re not the seas I grew up with, seas warm like bath-water, the waves lapping so soft you can sleep in them.”  Beautiful.

    • Marianne

      Great writing here Oddznns.  I like it all but I particularly like how she starts to think the ‘what if” about running into the waves but then can’t even complete the thought.  I feel her alienation.  I think she would be a great character for a book, or story, but you images here are like poetry to me.  I really  like this piece.  

  10. thomasmackayking

    Yumi had been drawn back to the beach. Inside
    her trembling frame her soul screamed in agony, her weakened legs barely held her
    up. It had been one year and eight months to the hour since hell rose up and
    sucked away her reason to live. On that frigid silent morning the black putrid
    ocean came over them and then forever kept coming. The shrieking banshee cry of
    the tsunami alarm vibrated through her bones as she ran with baby Akiko in her
    grasp. The impact of the wave smashed her legs and the baby tumbled from her
    tender grasp. The tiny bundle in the white shawl was pulled under the evil
    darkness, and was gone. Yumi waded into the Pacific Ocean her eyes on the
    horizon her heart broken. Soon the mother would again see the baby.    

    Reply
    • Marianne

      This is horrifying but the writing is good. 

    • Hilary Schrauf

      I agree, Marianne. It captures that primal fear and devastation so brilliantly. Nice job.

  11. Teresa

    The image of this  ‘ Beach Post’ was so vivid that I could smell the beach.
    Many thanks!

    Reply
  12. Joan

    Along the White Sands…
    April slipped off her sandals, enjoying the feel of the warm white sand between her toes. The beach was nearly empty, except for a few neighbors enjoying the last rays of evening sun. She smiled and waved at the Herrings—the retired couple who lived next door.
    In the opposite direction, Mike and Janet Parsons sat holding hands as they watched their four-year-old twins playing in the sand. April acknowledged them, but hurried by—haunted by painful memories of Brad and of the children that never were.
    She and Brad once walked together along this beach—arm-in-arm, sharing their hopes and dreams.  Then, life happened—three pregnancies, three miscarriages. It put a strain on their marriage and Brad moved out.
    “We both need some space,” he had said, “and time to think this through.”
    Whatever happened to ‘until death do us part?’ Had he truly loved her, or was the love conditional on her bearing his children?
    She walked to a secluded spot and sat down in the sand, allowing the waves wash over her feet. She gazed at the endless panorama of the azure blue ocean, wishing she could forget her problems.
    Yet she knew the time had come to face her situation. Either Brad loved her and wanted to remain together or he didn’t. It was time for him to decide—enough of him stringing her along. He had been gone for six months—long enough. She would call him tomorrow. “It’s now or never,” she would say. “I need to get on with my life—with you or without you.”
    With a newfound resolve, she rose and began walking back to the beach house. Twilight had settled in. The Parsons were gathering their things and calling to the twins to follow them inside. The Herrings had already retired to their deck, as they did most evenings.
    A man walked along the white sands toward her.  A stranger? Maybe someone new to the neighborhood? No, there was something familiar… Could it be? Dare she hope?
    The person came nearer. What was he doing here? Had he come home? Home to stay?
    She walked closer and Brad held out his arms…

    Reply
    • Marianne

      This is so good Joan.  I am really happy when it’s Brad coming along the beach.  You explain her situation so well that I feel like I know her.  

    • Joan

      Thank you, Marianne. I appreciate your encouragement.

  13. Tamera

    I had the dream again, the one at the beach.  It’s a cold gray Washington beach, not the
    pretty blue-skied California kind.  I
    can’t see her face, but I’m pretty sure it’s me.  She’s naked and alone.  The waves are heavy and many.  It seems like the beginning of an independent
    movie with swirling camera angles and avant-garde cinematography.   She stands there for a long time.  I notice her toenails are not painted, her
    thighs are dimpled with cellulite, and her hair curtains most of her back.  She begins walking deliberately and
    rhythmically paced toward the water.  The
    rhythm never changes, not even when her feet, legs, or waist meet the cold
    water.  She walks until she is gone.  There is no struggle, no sound, no pain, just
    gone.  I can taste salt water in my
    mouth, but there is something not sea about it. 
    Then I realize it is not seawater, but blood.  I am not in the ocean.  I am face down in a bathtub tasting my own
    blood.  I can see myself from above
    myself.  I scream.  No sound comes out. Nobody
    knows I am in there.  Nobody knows but me. 

    Reply
    • Marla4

       So powerful!  I love this line.  “There is no struggle, no sound, no pain, just gone.”

    • Marianne

      Wow.  That was a surprise at the end.  The way you move from the image in her mind to “I can taste salt water in my mouth” is great.  The pacing is also good especially when she is walking without pause toward the sea.  

  14. Gabriel Gadfly

    Sand Castles

    I have a photo of you,
    squinting in bright sundown
    next to the big sand castle
    we built on Clearwater Beach.
    That castle took hours.
    It took bucketsfull of wet white sand,
    and we poured itand shaped it
    into minarets and towers,
    arches and battlementson wide round walls,
    until our hands were raw,
    our necks burned red
    and then the sun went down.
    I took a photo of you with our castle,
    a snapshot to record our sweat and work
    and as the last light sunk into the gulf,
    we packed up our things
    and you kicked our castle down.

    Reply
    • Gabriel Gadfly

      Damn. It didn’t preserve my line breaks.

    • Joe Bunting

      Fixed it…. ish. Beautiful, Gabriel. Did you just write that now? 

      Love that last line: “and you kicked our castle down.”

      So poignant.

    • Gabriel Gadfly

      Thanks Joe. I wrote it in a few minutes after reading the prompt.

    • CM

      Reading like this is like taking in a painting- lovely!

    • Marianne

      What a good description of both a sand castle and I assume a relationship.  I particularly like that you put “kicked it down” and not “knocked it down”.  I like the rhythm of the writing here too. 

  15. Ckschleg

    Water doesn’t crash upon the sand here. When it reaches the sand it arrives a smooth hand upon a loved one’s cheek. At times, though, when boaters push the limits of the buoy signatures, it slaps upon the perpetually wet grains of sand, void of the relief of tides receded. No, the waters here more often than not rest quietly against the shores, a lover nestled beside it’s mate.Ashore, and in the shallows, in spite of the absence of surf, the activity is no less vibrant than on coastal cousins. Holes are scraped into grains, and forms of moistened sand take the shape of turrets and walls. Moats are crafted, and channels forged to the clear lake water mere meters away. at the water’s edge, floaties flop up an down as feet slowly submerge themselves into cold northern waters. Waist-deep, beside the docks, bread balls torn from a slice, drop atop the surface, a summons to the fish; nets clutched in elementary hands move futiley after the darting bluegills, their hunger sated, and their survival instinct piqued.Atop the aluminum tread of the adjacent dock bare feet thunder toward the terminus. Toward the depths, they launch their bearers skyward, out above the still clear pool, and downward, producing squeals of pleasure and refreshment, and wide-spreading splashes just shy of the swimming boundary.The scene is repeated, for sure, some in the majority of the 10,000 other places up here where fresh water collects itself as a lake. No, the beach is not just a foundation of coastal life. Here, in the land of lakes, the beach is woven into the fabric of lives from youth to the sunset years.In Minnesota you grow up near water. And, you make good use of it, year-round. It is the summers, though where the water is not only imbibed, but embraced, And nowhere is this more true than the municipal, association, and even hidden, private beaches marking the bodies dotting the state north from Austin to International Falls, east from Moorhead to Hastings, and throughout the entirety of what we call the Northland.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      You have some great ideas here.  I like the line about the beach being woven into the fabric of lives and the water not having a strong tide but cuddling with the shore.  I think you need some action, some dialogue and some characters to bring it to life more.  It sounds like a very different kind of water than the other beaches described here. 

  16. Luke Madden

                                    We
    spent the summer bare-shoulder, skin kissed pink by the midday sun, freckles
    blooming across our backs like constellations. Our chests blossomed in air
    thick with humidity as we wrestled each other to the ground in a tangled mess
    of limbs still slightly tinged with the awkwardness of growing up. Seagulls
    littered the sky like bits of old newspaper as we crashed through the waves
    gulping against the shores of Lake Michigan. Sometimes, we would stand still
    and let the water creep up around our ankles and recede from our toes, watching
    the sand squelch between them. The world was filled with vague possibilities,
    an echo of adventure we felt deep in the marrow of our bones.

    But now we reveled in the promise of our new found
    freedom as the inevitable decline of summer forced its way into our
    consciousness. W e were leaving behind the fear and embarrassment of high
    school for something that was much more feral. It was tradition for the newly
    graduated to camp out at the state park and various other campgrounds, setting
    up little shanty towns and spending the nights dancing around bonfires with red
    solo cups filled with various concoctions while trying to avoid the stern gaze
    of the deputy sheriff. It was a time when you lived as if these were your last
    moments. When you tried to hook-up with that girl from your chemistry class
    you’d been meaning to ask to prom or smoked a joint with that kid who always
    pushed you into your locker in the fourth grade. For once in our lives, we were
    equals. The hierarchy of high school was broken open as we all embarked on our
    new journeys, unsure of where life would lead us, and not really caring. But I
    missed the days when Jackson and I spent scouring the beach for seashells or
    digging in creek beds for arrowheads, when we were fireflies and our bodies
    hummed electric. These would be the moments that we would look back on during
    our distant reunions and say, remember
    when, those meetings of comparison and competition fueled by alcohol and
    more failed attempts at scoring with that girl from your second period
    chemistry class.

    But even as those days fade into
    distant memory, things remain the same. The moonlight rippling on the water’s
    surface like piano keys, the trees weathered grey lining the dunes scraping the
    sky with their topmost branches or the way storm clouds rumbled low across the
    sky like wild horses, manes streaked by lightning, as the beacon at the end of
    the pier blinked knowingly in the night. The only record of the passage of time
    being the layers of graffiti covering its base, of lovers come and gone making
    their history known. It’s a wonder that in a town consumed by cleanliness and
    the conservation of tradition, this bastion for vandalism and rebellion
    remained blemished and unsightly. But perhaps it was this conservation of
    tradition that allowed these acts of declaration to survive throughout the
    years, as if it were expected, a rite of passage as you entered into the world
    of the unknown. But even then, we still cling to home. Most of my classmates
    never left this place. I sometimes think about them and I wonder if they’re
    happy, if they wished they had escaped. 
    In the time I’ve been away, the solitude of this place still fills the
    deep places of my body and anchors me home.

     

    Reply
  17. Luke Madden

     We
    spent the summer bare-shoulder, skin kissed pink by the midday sun, freckles
    blooming across our backs like constellations. Our chests blossomed in air
    thick with humidity as we wrestled each other to the ground in a tangled mess
    of limbs still slightly tinged with the awkwardness of growing up. Seagulls
    littered the sky like bits of old newspaper as we crashed through the waves
    gulping against the shores of Lake Michigan. Sometimes, we would stand still
    and let the water creep up around our ankles and recede from our toes, watching
    the sand squelch between them. The world was filled with vague possibilities,
    an echo of adventure we felt deep in the marrow of our bones.
    But now we reveled in the promise of our new found
    freedom as the inevitable decline of summer forced its way into our
    consciousness. W e were leaving behind the fear and embarrassment of high
    school for something that was much more feral. It was tradition for the newly
    graduated to camp out at the state park and various other campgrounds, setting
    up little shanty towns and spending the nights dancing around bonfires with red
    solo cups filled with various concoctions while trying to avoid the stern gaze
    of the deputy sheriff. It was a time when you lived as if these were your last
    moments. When you tried to hook-up with that girl from your chemistry class
    you’d been meaning to ask to prom or smoked a joint with that kid who always
    pushed you into your locker in the fourth grade. For once in our lives, we were
    equals. The hierarchy of high school was broken open as we all embarked on our
    new journeys, unsure of where life would lead us, and not really caring. But I
    missed the days when Jackson and I spent scouring the beach for seashells or
    digging in creek beds for arrowheads, when we were fireflies and our bodies
    hummed electric. These would be the moments that we would look back on during
    our distant reunions and say, remember
    when, those meetings of comparison and competition fueled by alcohol and
    more failed attempts at scoring with that girl from your second period
    chemistry class.

    But even as those days fade into
    distant memory, things remain the same. The moonlight rippling on the water’s
    surface like piano keys, the trees weathered grey lining the dunes scraping the
    sky with their topmost branches or the way storm clouds rumbled low across the
    sky like wild horses, manes streaked by lightning, as the beacon at the end of
    the pier blinked knowingly in the night. The only record of the passage of time
    being the layers of graffiti covering its base, of lovers come and gone making
    their history known. It’s a wonder that in a town consumed by cleanliness and
    the conservation of tradition, this bastion for vandalism and rebellion
    remained blemished and unsightly. But perhaps it was this conservation of
    tradition that allowed these acts of declaration to survive throughout the
    years, as if it were expected, a rite of passage as you entered into the world
    of the unknown. But even then, we still cling to home. Most of my classmates
    never left this place. I sometimes think about them and I wonder if they’re
    happy, if they wished they had escaped. 
    In the time I’ve been away, the solitude of this place still fills the
    deep places of my body and anchors me home.

     

    Reply
  18. Luke Madden

    We spent the summer bare-shoulder, skin kissed pink by the midday sun, freckles
    blooming across our backs like constellations. Our chests blossomed in air thick with humidity as we wrestled each other to the ground in a tangled mess of limbs still slightly tinged with the awkwardness of growing up. Seagulls littered the sky like bits of old newspaper as we crashed through the waves gulping against the shores of Lake Michigan. Sometimes, we would stand still and let the water creep up around our ankles and recede from our toes, watching the sand squelch between them. The world was filled with vague possibilities, an echo of adventure we felt deep in the marrow of our bones.
    But now we reveled in the promise of our new found freedom as the inevitable decline of summer forced its way into our consciousness. W e were leaving behind the fear and embarrassment of high school for something that was much more feral. It was tradition for the newly graduated to camp out at the state park and various other campgrounds, setting up little shanty towns and spending the nights dancing around bonfires with red
    solo cups filled with various concoctions while trying to avoid the stern gaze of the deputy sheriff. It was a time when you lived as if these were your last moments. When you tried to hook-up with that girl from your chemistry class you’d been meaning to ask to prom or smoked a joint with that kid who always pushed you into your locker in the fourth grade. For once in our lives, we were equals. The hierarchy of high school was broken open as we all embarked on our new journeys, unsure of where life would lead us, and not really caring. But I missed the days when Jackson and I spent scouring the beach for seashells or digging in creek beds for arrowheads, when we were fireflies and our bodies hummed electric. These would be the moments that we would look back on during our distant reunions and say, remember when, those meetings of comparison and competition fueled by alcohol and more failed attempts at scoring with that girl from your second period chemistry class.

    But even as those days fade into distant memory, things remain the same. The moonlight rippling on the water’s surface like piano keys, the trees weathered grey lining the dunes scraping the sky with their topmost branches or the way storm clouds rumbled low across the sky like wild horses, manes streaked by lightning, as the beacon at the end of
    the pier blinked knowingly in the night. The only record of the passage of time being the layers of graffiti covering its base, of lovers come and gone making their history known. It’s a wonder that in a town consumed by cleanliness and the conservation of tradition, this bastion for vandalism and rebellion remained blemished and unsightly. But perhaps it was this conservation of tradition that allowed these acts of declaration to survive throughout the years, as if it were expected, a rite of passage as you entered into the world of the unknown. But even then, we still cling to home. Most of my classmates
    never left this place. I sometimes think about them and I wonder if they’re happy, if they wished they had escaped. In the time I’ve been away, the solitude of this place still fills the deep places of my body and anchors me home.

    Reply
  19. CM

    The beach is home. Surrounded by waves I feel uneasy, but
    right at the shore, where the breakers hit the sand, I’m at peace. Here the
    waves are capricious—soaring wintertime gale-driven breakers, or the smooth
    early-autumn laps more reminiscent of an inland pond.  The waves hit the sand like exhalations-sometimes
    panting, sometimes the quiet puffs of a sleepy giant.

    I know this beach. I’ve met other beaches and even become
    friends with them, but I know this one like a brother. Even the irritating squeak of the
    sand becomes comforting in its familiarity. I once walked a beach where the sand was like
    mud. We didn’t get along. Here it’s so fine the grains rush over each other in
    their frenzy to flee the path of your feet—bringing to mind childhood chalkboard nail
    dragging. But it’s a small price to pay for a perfect hammock, and a free
    exfoliation to boot.

    Water here is clear and cool, or warm and silty. But it
    never stings your eyes with salt. The breezes that come in off the lake are invigorating in their freshness. It’s almost as if
    someone wished for paradise: soft sand, azure waves, and no bite of brine
    to mar the Eden.

    For many people, sea and beach are synonymous, but no matter
    how many calendars try to convince me otherwise, I’ll always think first of the
    shores of Lake Michigan.

    Reply
    • Marianne

      “My” beach is the Chesapeake Bay but you and many others on this blog make me want to see Lake Michigan.  It sounds lovely.  The writing here is very descriptive and the setting would be good fro something longer.  

  20. Marianne

    This is a great story, full of the joy and adventure of youth.  I think it might be better if you broke it up with some dialogue or action.  

    Reply
  21. Asha

    In the middle of piles of pillows, waking up to the sound of my alarm buzzing continuously. After hitting the snooze multiple times, I finally wake up and first thing I do is check my notifications on my phone. After I finish looking at my friends posts, I get up to open the window only to find the beach right in front of my eyes. My mom comes into my room to tell my that my dads flight was canceled, so he won’t be back until the following morning. I ask why his flight was canceled, and my mom tells me it was because of a blizzard that was happening. My dad is a business man, so he travels a ton. Usually Americans are known to love snow, well let me tell you something, snow isn’t my thing at all. In fact the one time it snows, I dread going outside, so I just end up staying in bed or being a couch potato. My dad doesn’t really mind snow, but I’m sure he minds the fact that he won’t be home for another day. My mom leaves the room, and closes the door behind her. I turn back to the window and open it to hear the sounds of waves, and light winds from the world outside of our beach house. No need to worry about what clothes to wear on what day, because the forecast is always in for a sunny day. All you think to do in the morning is wake up, eat breakfast, and put your swimsuit, and have fun at the beach with your friends. All you can think of is having beach party’s with friends and coming home from a long day at the beach, tan as a peach. I wash off, eat my dinner, and snuggle into bed. “dan da da dan da dan da” “dan da da dan da dan da” my alarm continues going off in my ear. No need to hit snooze because I knew I was going to wake up to the life of my dreams. I wake up and check the window to see if it was actually real, and all I see is the fall leaves and cars passing by rushing to work. I go back into bed disappointed to see the real world.

    Reply
  22. Ben

    A soft buzz begins faint, then with the focus it gains from me, the beeping all of a sudden becomes immensely irritating. With a sweep of a condemning hand, the alarm is terminated, a red glow burning against my turtle shell turquoise eyes, adjusted to the shadows of night.

    My analog clock reads five thirty, the sky a florescent yet dark navy, specked with select bits of sugar, gleaming against Earth’s closest star about to rise against the salted sea. After a few minutes of lingering around my bedroom, articles of clothing strewn about the carpeted floor like piles of sand, I realize how close the sun is to peaking above the Atlantic.

    This will not be unseen.

    I’d throw on some replaceable sweats and rush out of the door, hopping onto my bike and peddling with all my might. The cool, salty air would lash against my face as lush green forests slowly morph into houses, shops, and soon a sleepy town, just now barely awakening from it’s slumber. Soon, the harbor takes shape out of the commercial center of town, a mist lifting off of the sea. The pungent scent of cod forever stained into the docks and boathouses relieves me, unlike any tourists who might turn their nose up at it’s unique scent. I welcome it, when I can notice it, as it is like the familiar scent of home to me.

    Then all of a sudden, like a wave upon the shore, I see it.

    The beach.

    The sandy shores beckon me towards it’s hypnotic visage. I have no will. My legs and the bay are in control. And just as I reach the sandy soaked shores, icy morning waves crashing against my bare feet, I see it.

    The sun peaks up above the ocean, my cloudless sky searing from navy to a bright orange and pink that slowly creeps upon my little hamlet. The ships that dot the harbor take a over burnt color, followed by lighthouses in the immeasurable distance, flashing the last of their light for the night. Soon, the forested hills are slammed with the all consuming light of the rising sun, hills reflecting a glossy verdant tint.

    The sun’s furthest reaches grasp at the town, it’s chipped and worn pastel paints glowing in the sun’s light. Yet it still grows far beyond my own sight.

    All while the icy waves crash against me and my beach. My wonderfully sandy, rocky, boat catching beach. My town. My county.

    My Maine.

    Reply
    • Hilary Schrauf

      I like the passive language and the images you paint are really beautiful and intriguing. I got swept up in the other-worldliness of your writing! There are a few lines that felt awkward – the description of the narrator’s eyes, the phrase “this will not be unseen.” I wish the ending stopped at “…boat catching beach.” But otherwise really magical!

  23. Hilary Schrauf

    THE BEACH

    I hate the beach. Let me just say that first. Sunburn. Sand. Waves. Noise. People. What’s so bad about that you ask? Do I really have to repeat myself? Anyway, look, my mom thought it would be good for me to get outside and get some “fresh air.” She told me on Monday, “Virginia, we’re going to take a trip on Saturday!” I hate it when she calls me by my full name. “A trip? Cool.” “Oh, come on,” she scolded, “You don’t even know what I’m going to say!” “Somehow not very reassuring, mom.” I reached for a yogurt in the fridge. I could feel her stare boring into the back of my neck. “Come on, Ginger,” she whined, “we’re going to the beach.” Oh boy. Now she uses my nickname. That means this is serious. “Can’t we do something like go to Great Escape? I could really stand to be turned upside down on some weird contraption that passes for a roller coaster…” I joked. “Or, god, even to the mall. I could use some new sneakers!”

    I’m guessing she really needs to get out of the house, but the beach? Shit. She’s already stressed out about the new job, so there is no way in hell I’m going to give her shit about it. OK, I know I already did, but, you know what I mean. Anyway, she started two weeks ago, and there’s this thing called a “lag” that’s been freaking her out. “What the hell’s a lag, mom?” “Ginger, could you please not swear? You know I hate that.” I shrugged a little and waited. “OK, so a lag is where you start the job, and you’ll be getting paid every other week, but they don’t pay you for four weeks the first time. You just have to wait, and hope you have enough money to get through.” Her face was a little flushed and she looked down. I waited. She sighed. Oh… “So, you mean we need to watch our spending for two more weeks?” I said. She nodded, slowly looking up at me, pleading with her eyes. Fortunately for her, I think I can live on greek yogurt and the store brand is on sale ten for five dollars. I don’t really need a lot of stuff, and I can usually make do with what I have. I can live without new sneakers. Oh god. Now I think I might be a total jerk.

    So, mom. And the beach. “Well, look mom. The beach is free! It’s cool.” She looked up, smiled. I continued, “We can hang out like we used to before all the crazy…” No, her eyes said, NO! Do NOT say it! I stopped. Silence hung between us like a wet blanket. I held my breath. She looked down again, struggling to sound cheerful, “Yeah, hang out like we used to…” her voice trailed off. I stood, my hip against the counter, awkward and trying to find something to do with my arms. I’m tall for sixteen – six feet tall. I suppose I should say tall for a girl. Well, thing is, I’m trans. Have been ever since I can remember, but I haven’t been out for very long, really.

    I’m six feet tall, with shoulder length auburn hair. (Yeah, Ginger. Get it?) I’m not a big fan of the beach because I don’t like to be that exposed, although I can wear a bikini just fine – I have one I really like, but I sunburn kind of easy. I guess mom is trying to heal us – this trip to the beach is maybe an olive branch, if that’s the right term. I don’t think it is. What do I mean to say? She’s trying to make herself feel about me the way she did before I came out. And dad left. Two years ago. I guess maybe dad left because I came out, or was it the other way around? It all kind of happened around the same time, so I’m not really sure which happened first. It’s a blur. I have my memories of things, but not in real chronological order.

    Reply
  24. Alan Benlolo

    Verasalt Beach was teeming with life that hot, cloudless afternoon in August. From volleyball to makeshift water polo on the ocean to castle-building by the shoreline, the densely packed beach was buzzing with activity — and inactivity, as many of the guests were content to bask in the sun and work on their tans. The sound of the crashing waves was met with the cries of laughter and jubilation, the squawking of seagulls and the occasional warning calls blasting through the speakerphones of lifeguards. Leo Palminsky, the Beach’s lone MD, or “Metal Detective,” was standing with the belly of his frail and wrinkled forearm resting on top of his detector’s handle while observing what was transpiring around him. The best part of his job, which he held for 20 years following his early retirement from the US army as an explosives specialist, was not finding and extracting metal objects but witnessing what he called the “good life” on this picturesque beach. For Leo, his 20-year tenure at this job served as much-need therapy from the horrors he had faced as a 21-year-old during the second World War, in particular the dreadful day on Normandy Beach, aka “D Day”, when he took three bullets — two to his torso and one to his hind leg —and witnessed the death of many of his fellow officers, some of them friends. It was June 6, 1944, but that day was still fresh in his mind. But he wasn’t going to let the dark memories of the past seep into the present, however difficult that was going to be. Leo reached into the right pocket of his pants and pulled out a brittle, yellow-stained note that read: “Look around you my friend… observe and absorb the energies of the people and places that surround you, and claim THIS day on behalf of all of us.” This was written by his then best friend, Sheldon, who died from his injuries a few days following D-Day. This had been part of Leo’s routine every day for the past 20 years while he worked on the beach: roam the sandy shores with his detector, pause after an hour or so, and read the note, over which he started to express concern since it was falling part — badly. It was ripped on all sides and the ink was fading. At this point, Leo was paralyzed with indecision; he didn’t want to exacerbate the note’s already poor condition by folding it. While thinking of a solution, Leo felt two sharp tugs of his right pant leg; he looked down to find a stout round-faced boy not older than four or five holding up an empty Ziploc bag. Flanking the boy was his father, who, after letting out a short chuckle, instructed his son, “Alex, don’t give the mister that; it’s garbage!” “Far from garbage my friend,” Leo defended. Funny, nothing could have prepared Leo for that awful day in 1944. Neither could have this moment.

    Reply
  25. Alan Benlolo

    Verasalt Beach was teeming with life that hot, cloudless afternoon in August. From volleyball to makeshift water polo on the ocean to castle-building by the shoreline, the densely packed beach was buzzing with activity — and inactivity, as many of the guests were content to bask in the sun and work on their tans. The sound of the crashing waves was met with cries of laughter and jubilation, the squawking of seagulls and the occasional warning calls blasting through the speakerphones of lifeguards. Leo Palminsky, the Beach’s lone MD, or “Metal Detective,” was standing with the belly of his frail and wrinkled forearm resting on top of his detector’s handle while observing what was transpiring around him. The best part of his job, which he held for 20 years following his early retirement from the US army as an explosives specialist, was not finding and extracting metal objects but witnessing what he called the “good life” on this picturesque beach. For Leo, his 20-year tenure at this job served as much-need therapy from the horrors he had faced as a 21-year-old during the second World War, in particular the dreadful day on Normandy Beach, aka “D Day”, when he took three bullets — two to his torso and one to his hind leg —and witnessed the death of many of his fellow officers, some of them friends. It was June 6, 1944, but that day was still fresh in his mind. But he wasn’t going to let the dark memories of the past seep into the present, however difficult that was going to be. Leo reached into the right pocket of his pants and pulled out a brittle, yellow-stained note that read: “Look around you my friend… observe and absorb the energies of the people and places that surround you, and claim THIS day on behalf of all of us.” This was written by his then best friend, Sheldon, who died from his injuries a few days following D-Day. This had been part of Leo’s routine every day for the past 20 years while he worked on the beach: roam the sandy shores with his detector, pause after an hour or so, and read the note, over which he started to express concern since it was falling part — badly. It was ripped on all sides and the ink was fading. At this point, Leo was paralyzed with indecision; he didn’t want to exacerbate the note’s already poor condition by folding it. While thinking of a solution, Leo felt two sharp tugs of his right pant leg; he looked down to find a stout round-faced boy not older than four or five holding up an empty Ziploc bag. Flanking the boy was his father, who, after letting out a short chuckle, instructed his son, “Alex, don’t give the mister that; it’s garbage!” “Far from garbage my friend,” Leo defended. Funny, nothing could have prepared Leo for that awful day in 1944. Neither could have this moment.

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  26. Vaanchit Srikumar

    As I tread down the beach, the silver sands bask in the light like pixie dust in this fairyland. The lofty coconut palms oscillate as a warm, tropical gust whistles.
    As the sun drifts down the horizon, it hides behind the clouds shyly with the sky’s cheeks blushing a pink hue.
    As I sit on a rock and am sprayed with cool brine, I gaze at the fathomless ocean churn.
    As I return home, I ponder over the years that have gone by and the things that have changed.
    As I live, the one thing that is constant is the beach.

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  27. Tab

    The Beach
    Cool and calm would how the ocean would be described by her best friend. Jade stared at the waves as they pushed in and out. She was sitting on the sandy shore, wishing that it were dawn already. The stillness welcomed unwanted thoughts and disturbed her peaceful surroundings. How could she think of anything else at a time like this? The ocean personified, that’s ridiculous. If it were a person it would be irrational and angry. The ocean continuously stirred, in a ceaseless rhythm that warranted disruption. She wiggled her toes a little in the sand. Feeling its cool, grainy texture reminded her of how much she hated the beach. The ocean, the waves and its cool salty air. Too overwhelming for the senses she thought. How could anyone escape when there was just as much noise here than anything else in her head. So why did she come then? It was not anyplace she wanted to go, yet she still arrived. Waiting, for own thoughts to be interrupted by an expected visitor. Pulling her knees in closer, she looked over her left shoulder. Seeing nothing but endless beach and her parked car. She turned to face the water again, not bothering to look over her right. She would hear whoever was coming.

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    • Tab

      I wrote this, just signed up and love the prompts and idea.

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