As I walk along the sandy shores of Long Beach, I can feel the warm water and fine sugary sand brush against my feet. I can feel the tiny little pebbles and cracked shells slide in between my toes. I can feel the sun’s rays caress my skin. There’s a certain warmth that comes with it. It’s probably because the waters originate from the Pacific and the summers here are drier. A little different from the hot summers back home in Brooklyn, but it’s all good. The smell coming from the ocean enchants and draws me closer to the blue waters. But the boardwalk and the sounds of chatter and laughter from children running around and eating ice cream are enough to make me stand on solid ground and stay there. I can’t put it exactly into words, but I don’t have to. All that matters is that I love it here. Every single aspect of it. Plus, the people are phenomenal. Everyone’s friendly and nice…and warm.I can hear my parents and relatives talking in the background behind the sounds of waves crashing into the shore and the sounds of the wind whispering into my ears. A casual conversation that doesn’t seem to warrant any attention, at least not from me, for I am in my own world. The last thing on my mind is to worry about anything. I am surrounded by nature–by air, land and water at their purest forms. There is no distraction but mindless chit-chat from the people behind. But even that doesn’t seem to bother me. It shouldn’t. A break from city life. Yes, this is what living is all about…for now.
Suddenly, I hear the voice of a young girl. She says, “I want ice cream! Let’s have some ice cream!” with such demand and enthusiasm. It’s my niece asking everyone to come up to a nearby candy and ice cream shop. And as though entranced by some magic spell, everyone follows the little darling. We go inside this shop and are greeted by two attendants–one girl and one boy–wearing striped uniforms and white hats reminiscent of the fifties. I love the nostalgia of it all. Even the design and feel of the shop is appealing. But what I love the most are the tons of flavors to choose from and the different candy and chocolate toppings. They even have sauces…for ice cream! She chooses vanilla with sprinkles of M&Ms and caramel sauce on top. And although I love vanilla…and butter pecan…and rocky road…and strawberry shortcake…and mocha…and cookie dough, I choose a green-colored one and no, it’s not mint.
It’s pistachio. And it is delicious!
We walk a little farther toward the direction where the sun sets. It’s amazing how the color of the horizon changes into a beautiful orange hue as the blue in the background fades and changes into purple and a hint of indigo begins to dominate on the opposite side where the moon seems to rise out of nowhere. “Ah, life. I want to live here,” I say to myself. I am with my family and my relatives and my sweet, but feisty, little niece. The surroundings are perfect. No one can ask for anything better. The smell of the air is perfect. The calm breeze from the ocean is perfect. Everything is perfect except for one small thing–I actually never went.
This is all just wishful thinking. My apologies, dear readers! But I do yearn for something similar. You see, I was really supposed to travel to the west coast–Long Beach, California to be specific–and follow my parents on their adventure. But because I could not find a suitable hotel for my dog or a dog sitter, I made the decision to stay behind and leave all the fun stuff to my parents. After all, they deserve a long vacation. They’re retired. They’ve worked hard all their lives. They’ve earned it. They deserve it.
And while I am drooling with envy, as I know they will be going to LA and San Diego to visit more family, I do not mind at all. I can enjoy a little staycation over the weekend and enjoy the beach somewhere in Brooklyn or Queens. The great weather in New York City this weekend should be enough to evoke a similar experience.
I will close my eyes as I walk along the sandy shores of Brighton Beach and feel the warm sugary sand slide in between my toes. There will be a familiar smell coming from the ocean. And it will beckon for me to get closer. I will try and take a dip but will eventually get out and walk along the boardwalk. I will stop by Nathan’s and have a hotdog on a bun. No ketchup. Just mustard. Then I will stop by an ice cream shop and savor a nice pistachio and butter pecan combo and sit on a bench. I will read my book, and I will watch kids making sandcastles and other lovely creations on the beach. I will stay there, until the sun begins to dive into the west knowing that somewhere three hours behind, my family will be doing the same thing and enjoying the same moment.