The waves lapped up on the sand, turning it dark and washing away foot prints. Wind whipped up my blonde hair and swirled around my lightly freckled face. She was very pale and always wore a straw sunhat. She never had tan lines, she never got sunburned. She left her red shovel on the beach that day. I never went back to get it.
Sarah and I were two peas in a pod, peanut butter and jelly. I was the Indian, she was the cowboy. I was the doctor, she always had a failing heart. We never had our own cups of chocolate milk, but shared one with bendy, light pink straws.
It was one of those foggy, but bright days. You could never find the sun, but always had to squint. She hated the ocean. I had already graduated out of arm-floaties. My one piece, yellow and green polka-dotted swimsuit was lined with a ruffly skirt. She wore a black one. Salt crusted in my ears as I ran up to her and sprinkled sea water from my hair onto her white shoulders.
Our drip-sand castle had twelve towers, three guest houses, and one pig barn. She took her time, dripping the wet sand steadily. I piled it on, making the whole castle crumble. We started over probably five times because of me.
Wild flowers grew on the cliffs, away from the reaches of the salty waves. Sarah picked me the blue ones and I got her the pink ones.
It was almost five and my favorite TV show was on at 6:30. I wanted to get home as quickly as possible. I dragged Sarah out of the pond we made of ocean water and pushed her towards the umbrella. She wasn’t ready to go, but I didn’t care.
As we packed up our soggy towels and striped umbrella, the clouds rolled in. They made me feel compressed. The wind chilled my wet skin as hairs raised on end. We laid towels over the backseat so that our soaked bottoms wouldn’t seep into the seats. Her mom rushed us into the car. We forgot the red shovel buried in the sand.
Normally when her mom dropped me off, she would drive down my mile long driveway, but not that day. Before I had time to pull my towel out of the car, the door was slammed behind me, catching it. The pale blue pickup trick zoomed away leaving me in a cloud of dust. I watched the towel turn brown from dragging in the dirt.
I walked down my driveway not knowing it was the last time I would see Sarah. During the time that I spent picking up sticks and throwing rocks on my way home, Sarah and her mom had been packing to leave. To leave their home. The city.
I always regretted leaving the beach so early that day.