It was after Labor Day, and she was on the beach. In her swimsuit. Her mother would have been horrified; when she was growing up in New York, swimsuits were banished the day after Labor Day. She remembered swimming all day long, trying to store up enough of the slippery cool wetness and hot sun on her back to last a whole winter.
Not that winter started the day after Labor Day; nope, even in New York there were lots of warm days left after Labor Day. The lake stayed warm and inviting right into October, some years. But no one went swimming after Labor Day. Not ever. And, after awhile, she'd stopped asking why, stopped trying to argue her swimsuit back down from the attic, and absorbed the rule into her own way of looking at the world.
There was no swimming after Labor Day.
But here, on the California Coast, they didn't seem to know that rule. She wasn't alone on the beach; there were lots of other people basking in the sun and cavorting in the waves. Toddlers building sand castles with their young mothers; older couples walking hand in hand on the hard sand; single people, like her, their towels and cell phones marking their boundaries and connections to the real world. She made circles in the sand with her big toe for awhile, checked her messages; then, self-consciously, got up and strolled down to the ocean.
Looking furtively around for any sign of her childhood, she defiantly waded into the surf.
© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
14k gold-filled chain maille, seed beads, and lampwork beads by Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations. Hand fabricated, bead embroidery princess length necklace.