summers north

8/19/15

It was raining when we arrived at the coast. Veiled with a flickering tenderness of sunlight through shadow, clouds covered the sky and the grayness was broken only by the occasional sea gull, brave enough to dart from cover as the summer rain fell. 

Our cottage was small. Not directly on the beach, the blue and yellow house sagged in the damp air, half hidden by pine trees. The cottage was never truly ours, but year after year, my grandmother rented us the same house on Garrison Lane for the summer, and so, in my young mind, I'd claimed it as my own. We felt connected to the familiarity of the white peeling paint, the sandy floorboards and the damp curtains that smelled strongly of saltwater, seaweed and wild roses. In the rain, these scents only grew stronger.

My sisters and I ran from the beach, down the dirt lane to the yellow house, laughing despite the ruined weather.  Our feet had grown callused quickly, as they did every summer, after running along the rocky path lined with juniper bushes, back and forth, from the dirt lane to the beach where we could see the coarse expanse of Maine sand and hear the crash of the frothing dark waves. 

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My youngest sister is getting married next June; she’ll be married in Maine, in the church where our parents were married thirty years ago. The roses will be in bloom then, and the bittersweet vines tenaciously clawing their way along the road. ‘Till she returns to school next week, all we talk about is wedding things: dresses that will do in both sand and heat, flowers that won’t wilt in salty air. It feels like we are little girls again, planning parties on the coast and running barefoot in the rain. It brings back so many memories.

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