The months between second and third grade are a lacuna in my memory, save for the final day. Its details flood me with cruel clarity, despite my attempts to embank the deluge.
Beachside, in the shade of a swaying palm, the mingling aromas of charcoal and sunscreen precede the taste of frankfurters fresh off the grill. Nubivagant gulls scan for a dropped crumb, but only find a blob or two of spilled mustard.
Billy places a platoon of plastic soldiers atop a clumsy sandcastle, which the tide casually topples. Mama wipes his tears and runny nose with the hem of her gingham skirt. Papa dozes, freckled shins as pink as the watermelon dissolving on my tongue.
Susy reads a fashion magazine, soft mounds starting to fill out the top of her two-piece swimsuit, the kind Papa won't let me wear yet. Our dog Plato pursues the wayward Frisbee that whizzed past our blanket as Mama leaves to buy us ice-cream. For the sheer number of beachgoers, no one notices my brother Billy balter along the damp shore toward the surf and wade his chubby legs into its welcoming warmth. Nor does anyone witness the waves wrest his tiny body from the water’s surface.
A moment later, adults rush past me in a blur of Hawaiian shirts and tanned limbs, but I can’t take my eyes off the creamy domes turning into chocolate puddles in the sand.
Laura Plummer is an American writer and poet from Massachusetts. Her work has been featured in a number of print and online publications. lauraplummer.me.