Last year, we went on vacation to Hawaii. We stayed in one of those resorts, you know the kind, where they have those activities for kids called Club Fun! or Teen Time! We arrived at the hotel, ate dinner, and went to bed. By the next day, we each had our own itinerary, and we were off in different directions.
Mom and Dad did whatever old people do. Nick, Jamie and I were all in different groups. I had a blast snorkeling and learning how to surf. Hula lessons were OK. I mean, you gotta do the hula lessons, or no one will believe you actually went to Hawaii. Then there was that hike to the volcano that was pretty amazing, too. But by the end of the day, we were all exhausted, and after a quick “How was your day,” we each went to bed and fell immediately to sleep.
Then, the day before we were supposed to leave, Mom decided she wanted a family day. I may or may not have rolled my eyes when she suggested it. But whatever, she had the concierge pack a picnic lunch, and then Dad rented a car and took us to this beach that apparently hardly anyone knew about.
Mom unfurled the comforter that she had stolen from the hotel room, then settled down with a book. Dad, Nick and Jamie headed out into the water. I slathered some tanning lotion on and stretched out on my towel to work on my tan.
For the first time since we’d arrived, I relaxed. I loved the taste of the salt in the air and the feel of the sand between my toes. The sun kissed my back and shoulders, and a cool breeze played in my hair. I breathed in the scent of the ocean, and I was content.
When I got too hot, I waded into the water to join the boys. Diving under the waves, the cool liquid was refreshing and sweet. Nick splashed me, and I splashed him back before he disappeared into the surf. Jamie called to me, “Watch me, Rae!” and I saw him ride a wave a few yards before he came up, spluttering and proud. I gave him a thumb’s up, and he grinned.
I swam out to where Dad floated in the water, just beyond the breaking surf. “Try it,” he said, and I leaned back, letting the ocean buoy me up. The sky was a brilliant blue with a single, puffy cloud that hung, suspended in time.
Mom called us in for lunch, and then the boys were right back in the water. And so we drifted, sometimes in the water, sometimes out, lazy and unhurried and not trying too hard.
We arrived back at the hotel in time for the big luau that they throw the last night of your stay. We feasted on roast pig and poi, watched fierce young men in tribal costume dance and throw fire around, and some guy took our picture and charged my parents five bucks for a copy. It was spectacular, they would say. But it didn’t compare to our day at the beach.
That was my favorite memory, my day of sunshine. I hold onto it when I think I might never feel the sun like that again.
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Today’s prompt was “What is your favorite memory?” from the point of view of Rae Freeborn from my Freeborn series. And don’t forget, you can still to enter to win Longing for Home by Sarah Eden here until midnight tonight.