Without naming names, let’s just say that Saturday involved perjury, damage to personal property and a 90 minute bedtime standoff.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought was that this weekend HAD to get better.
We went to church, came home, changed clothes and went to the beach.
Blue doesn’t begin to describe the sky. Surely there is a better word than blue. Eskimos, snow, you know what I’m saying.
The wind ransacked my hair, and Selam’s braid flew straight out. We pulled out the three kites that I’ve been driving around with for a month. I can never remember which of them actually works and which don’t. We tried them, and the third one was the charm. The wind vacuumed that yellow kite up into the air, and we kept letting the string out and out ’til the kite billowed far past the rooftops, above the trees, beyond the seagulls’ flight. Kids on the beach stopped and pointed, mouths agape. Selam fell down on her hind end in order to keep the kite from carrying her away.
She tired of that, so I pulled in the kite. She put a hula hoop around her middle and was dancing when I dropped the string. I took off running after it and she did, too, dragging the hula hoop behind her. An elderly couple on the beach came to our rescue. He caught the string and she convinced Selam to let go of the hula hoop.
We went back to the car to get some snacks, and brought them back to the beach. We ate goldfish and apples and took goofy photos of each other. Between bites I played interviewer, “If you could go anywhere in the world on a trip, where would you go? “Ethiopia” “What’s your favorite food?” “spaghetti” “Who is your best friend?” “Mommy.” “What is your best talent?” “Hula hooping.” “If you had a super-power, what would it be?” “I would be able to fly and bring mommy with me.” “If you could build a house with anything awesome in it, what would you build?” “A house with donuts and cider.”
Flat on our backs, we stared at the clouds. I found a duck, a sun and a boat. She found clouds.
“I don’t want them to be anything but clouds. Clouds are nice.”
She talked me into going into the water to fill up the blue bucket. The water wasn’t as bad as it could be, but it wasn’t fun. We mixed the water with the sand, and formed a half-hearted castle. She drew our initials on the roof, so that the fairies could read it. We laughed at the dogs running into the ocean. She chased after the seagulls circling our blanket. I drew her name in the sand with a stick, and we found a tiny piece of seaglass, and put it on the roof of the castle, right next to our initials.
“It’s a jewel,” she said.
The tide came in, the waves creeping toward the striped blanket, toward our feet, toward the girl in the Mickey Mouse fleece and the rolled up jeans. She started shivering and it was time to go. The zipper jammed on the beach blanket, so I wore it on my shoulders. She huddled under it, and walked back to the car with her hands on my belt loops, looking, I’m sure, like an elaborate bustle to my beach blanket dress.
“Every day, the water goes up the beach and down.”
“I wonder if it gets tired.”
“Well….” I contemplate science and fiction and my own finitude, and opt for fiction, or resolution, or something like that.
“You know how it’s easier to walk to the beach than it is to walk back?”
“I think it’s like that. I think the tide likes to come in because it likes to come back to the beach.”
“It likes to come back to the happy place.”
“Me, too, too.”