Just beachy


The beach is perfect, as the rankings promised. And I am miserable.

It is a hot Florida day, with bright blue skies and a lapping ocean just out of reach. But the sand is prickly and my towel inadequate.

I am at the wrong beach.

I mean, the maps and the signs are right. And while others may find this to be the ultimate stretch of coastline, I’ve had better.

In my dreams, I can hear the waves advance and recede, advance and recede. I can smell the sunblock and the salt and the sea. A balmy breeze soothes my worn shell.

It is night, and the sand is cooling down. On my walk up and down the shore, my toes curl and scoop up the white grains in ornery clumps. The foamy water slides up seductively, teasing my bare feet. My sandals are slung over my shoulder, held by one hand. My girl is laughing and running ahead of me.

I miss that beach.

This beach is a waking nightmare. It’s not that bad, but quite a letdown.

I place my towel on the least prickly part and lie down to read. In the pavilions down the stretch, the family reunion — complete with huge speakers and music and microphones — has kicked off.

Even the gulls are staying away.

The beach is my happy place, but this is no such idyll. Only a few have wandered here in search of seaside serenity. They don’t seem to mind the many imperfections dotting the strip.

The discomfort is mild, but the nagging is unbearable, my undoing. I must leave.

The picnic, the Frisbee, the nighttime stroll will come another day. This locale is unworthy.

I grab my towel and my book. My sorry flip-flops are keeping my feet safe from the wretched earth. The day turns blistering as I sulk into my rental car, unfulfilled.

A cold drink somewhere will wash away the bitterness.


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