Summer 2015, maybe one of the best ones yet. The days were long and ended too soon, usually with hands covered in the sticky remnants of TJ’s and feet covered in sand. You could measure the summer in the pounds of sand that we carried home in our bikini bottoms. The gallons of saltwater we accidentally swallowed. The number of times we blared Cheerleader out of the convertible. I’d look over at Kira from the passenger seat when the song ended. “Well do you wanna play it again?” The answer is always yes.
Like every year, August rolled around and we all thought, no way is summer almost over. Business at work slowed down, the crowded beaches began to thin, and the cute lifeguards went back to school. In the last week of summer, it seemed like we were all trying to cram our last days of freedom full of unforgettable memories, when in reality, our whole summer had been full of them.
Ever since I was a baby, my family has been going to the beach with Victoria and her family, the Bells. Our friendship was born over goldfish when we were toddlers, and from that moment on, we’ve been best friends, even though nine months out of the year she lives in Pennsylvania. June, July, and August, are basically the only months we have together the whole year. So during the summer we see each other nearly everyday. Her summer home is basically my summer home too. Nothing makes me miss summer more than thinking about biking the three blocks home to Victoria’s house from the beach, the six o’clock sun lazy in the sky. Occasionally, the nights at the Bell household are quiet, but more often than not, they are bustling with dozens of Victoria’s Greek relatives and as a result, filled with the mouth watering smell of Greek food. I tease Victoria about it all the time. “I’m only in it for the Greek food.”
In my house, a summer day spent away from the beach is a day spent wrong. So every morning, we pack the back of the car to the top with beach chairs and drive across the island to our favorite spot. We always arrive earlier than the rest if our family and friends, so it’s usually an hour or so before the beach is full. My favorite days are the ones where we come early and leave late, the days when the whole crew comes, about 25 of us in total.
The more people on the beach, the more entertaining the day ends up being. Planned for a day of laying on your towel and evening out your tan lines? Good luck accomplishing that if the kids are all down. These kinds of days usually start with Victoria and me trying to get some summer reading done, but a few minutes in, we’re dragged out of our chairs to play Run the Bases, or swim, or go back up to the house to get the surfboards. The most enthusiastic of the beach goers are Victoria’s cousins, the triplets: Eleni, Evan, and Mikey. They’re the same age as my brother Max and Victoria’s sister Julianna. When they come to the beach, an exhausting, unforgettable beach day is sure to ensue, usually ending with scratched knees from rolling around in the sand and shells, and tired eyes from spending hours in the ocean.
Leaving the beach is always a challenge. Some days the water is so nice and we’re having so much fun that we pretend we don’t see my mom signaling to us from the shore that it’s time to go. We pack our sandy chairs onto the cart and Max, Alexa and I will usually argue about who has to pull it up to the car. We drive home with the windows down, hair damp and sticking up in all directions, skin warm and dark. My favorite car rides are with Kira. The top of the Bug is down every day in the summer, and on our way home from the beach, we blare the Beach Boys and the Growlers. I stick my sandy toes out the window and try to capture the feeling and store it away for the colder days that are coming. Bliss. There is no other way to describe it.
Goodbye, summer. Grains of sand are still wedged in between my sheets. Bathing suit tops are still strewn around the floor of my room. But it’s October now, and it’s getting increasingly harder to pretend you’re around. So until next June, I’ll be impatiently waiting for your return.
Top Down Playlist 2015
- Hold Me Now-Wayne Wonder
- Wouldn’t It Be Nice-The Beach Boys
- Heart It Races-Dr. Dog
- Someday-The Growlers
- Follow The Sun-Xavier Rudd
- Our Love Will Always Remain-The Aquadolls
- To Go Home-M. Ward
- Surfin’ USA-The Beach Boys