Monday, August 17, 2015

Endless Summers

by Natasha Sinel

Summer used to feel endless. Growing up, we spent August on Cape Cod.

When I was a toddler, we’d sit close to the water and I’d play in the sand and build sandcastles with my mom, jump the ocean waves rolling into the shore with my dad. Eat sandwiches and potato chips. That’s when I met my oldest friend Claudia. I don’t know the exact story but I think we played together on the beach and then introduced our parents.

When I was seven, I’d read, ride waves, play Kadima with Claudia, and I’d watch the older kids who were ten, eleven, twelve. They could go in the water without their parents, go up the dune to the ice cream truck on their own.

Ice cream truck in the parking lot at Newcomb Hollow Beach, MA

When I was ten, eleven, twelve, as Claudia and I went up the dune to the ice cream truck, I’d watch the teenagers on the beach. They’d sit in a group in a big cluster of towels. The girls wore cute bikinis and the boys had washboard abs. They flirted. Some of them held hands. I made up stories about them and I wished I could be as cool as they were. I dreamed of having a boyfriend during my month on Cape Cod.

When I was seventeen, I was one of those teenagers. I sat with my group in a big cluster of towels. Claudia and I wore cute bikinis, and the boys had washboard abs. I flirted. I held hands with one of the boys, and he was my boyfriend during the second half of my month on Cape Cod. Summer seemed endless, but a summer relationship was not. 

That same summer, Claudia and I noticed a group on the beach nearby. They were much older than us, maybe twenty-three. They had coolers with beer, and they sat in beach chairs. They were mostly girls, and they had little gut-bellies that sagged just over their bikini bottoms, and they wore sunglasses and baseball caps. The boys, if there were any, had washboard abs. The post-college clique, we called them, and secretly we knew we were better because we didn’t have the little gut-bellies and we knew that if you sat in a chair all day, you wouldn’t get your back tan.

Newcomb Hollow Beach, Wellfleet, MA


Several years later, we sat in beach chairs with a cooler of beer and had little gut-bellies hanging over our bikini bottoms. I watched a group of teenagers nearby, in a big cluster of towels, with smooth abs and tan backs, and I turned to Claudia and said. “Look, we’re the post-college clique now.” She looked around at our group of girls with our gut-bellies and sunglasses and baseball caps, and the couple of boys with their washboard abs, and she shrugged. I shrugged. “Pass me a beer,” I said.

A dozen or so years after that, I built sandcastles with my toddler and watched him jump in the waves rolling into shore with his dad. We ate sandwiches and potato chips. Sometimes Claudia came over with her girls and we’d walk over to the bay with beach toys and umbrellas.

Bay beach, Truro, MA

Today, I went to the ocean with my family. And Claudia’s family. My sons are six, eight, and ten. Her daughters are ten and twelve. There was some Kadima, some riding of waves, some reading (in fact, Claudia’s twelve-year-old was reading an advance copy of my book). I wondered whether any of the kids noticed the group of teenagers sitting in a big cluster of towels behind us with their cute bikinis and washboard abs. I know I did.

Every year, summer ends. But summer memories are endless.


Natasha Sinel writes YA fiction from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon, but in her head, she's still in high school, and hopes that no one near her can read minds. Her debut YA novel THE FIX will be out from Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing September 1, 2015.




4 comments:

  1. This line really stuck with me: "Every year, summer ends. But summer memories are endless." We spent the week at my sister's cottage in Harpswell, Maine and The wayback machine was in full bore most of the time. I had to work every summer because money was tight, but that didn't prohibit adventure, romance, heartbreak and meeting very interesting people. Thanks for a very neat post.

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  2. I love that you and your family and friends have been able to continue this beach tradition--and now your kids will do the same <3

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  3. Lovely, Natasha. For years, I spent August at the Cape with my family, too. First Wellfleet and then Truro. First as a kid and then as a parent. Thanks for stirring some sweet memories.

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