On our last night at the beach, the five of us strolled across the southern tip of Singer Island, through the charming old Florida town of Palm Beach Shores, to the sunset street festival that takes place every Thursday evening at Sailfish Marina.
After letting Lil’ Bit feed the fish along the seawall, Mom and Dad took her home to put her to bed, leaving Hubs and me behind to enjoy a rare date night out. We browsed the local vendors and then grabbed some Coronas from the beer stand and walked down the dock past an impressive cruiser yacht named C’est La Vie that was blaring rock music from an equally impressive sound system.
Pretentious assholes, we agreed. But they were playing Def Leppard’s greatest hits. So with a nostalgic shrug, we plopped down on the dock with our legs dangling off the end to sip our beers.
I gazed out over the glass-like surface of Lake Worth shimmering with the lights of Riviera Beach and listened to the water just beneath my feet lapping gently against the pier. Occasionally a fishing boat hummed past us through the darkness, purling the water in its wake as if a mysterious sea creature moved just below the surface.
I had been watching a parade of boats and ships all week, situated as we were overlooking a busy inlet. And I was going to miss it.
C’est la vie.
When we had both downed our drinks, Hubs and I walked back down the dock to where the party was still in progress, complete with live island music by a man named Clark Rodriguez who sounded exactly like Jimmy Buffet. It was naturally assumed that we would now head back to Marriott’s Ocean Pointe – our home away home for the week – but I suddenly turned to Hubs with pleading eyes.
“I don’t want to go yet.”
So, we instead found a table on the patio of the marina’s restaurant and ordered another round, all the while observing the various mating rituals of the single and horny.
Later, we walked home hand-in-hand along the path bordering the inlet, watching as a brilliant, nearly-full moon appeared from behind a small cloud to cast its glowing white skirt across the surface of the ocean, as it had every night that week. I breathed deeply, inhaling the scent of salt air, knowing it would be a long time before I would smell it again.
I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to go back to my job and deadlines and laundry and managing a household. Back to my non-coastal home and triple-digit heat and the threat of something called a super derecho - a weather term I had never even heard of until the massive wind storm that had devastated our region mere hours after we’d departed for our vacation a week earlier.
I didn’t want to go home to the rigors of reality.
I wanted to stay rooted to the tip of that island, where there had been only abundant sunshine and perfect temperatures and coastal breezes. Where there had been playful mornings at the pool and lazy afternoons lying on the beach, reading or dozing to the white noise of the ocean waves.
In this place, there there had been snorkeling and shopping. And sushi and seafood and surf ‘n turf. And mohitos and margaritas. Oh, yes… there had been margaritas.
There had been happy reunions with Florida-based relatives and new friendships forged, as Lil’ Bit gave up any pretense of trying to understand the various family ties and simply began calling everyone her cousin.
There had been parental pride and joy and many, many rounds of jumping into her daddy’s waiting arms, as her initial shock and fear stemming from that strange feeling of being suspended weightless in water with no grounding force gave way to an intense love of “swimming.”
There had been life lived. An ongoing vitality fueled by the kinetic energy that flowed like a current from Lil’ Bit into Hubs and me and her grandparents – all four of whom surrounded her at one point.
And through it all, what there had not been was any desire to blog.
So, of course there was BlogHer, informing me that they were spotlighting my post, The Demise of Caillou, and asking me to share the good news with friends and followers. Check it out – better late than never, right?
I’ve been vainly submitting my favorite pieces to BlogHer for well over a year, encouraged by equal parts ego and delusion after being syndicated as a newbie blogger in March 2011. So, it figures they’d choose the one week I swear off blogging to finally acknowledge my presence again.
C’est la vie.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. ~Michael Corleone
On the morning of our departure, Lil’ Bit and I stood on the beach with our toes in the surf, staring out at the ocean.
“Are you ready to go home and see Boo?” I asked her. But she only shook her head no, bottom lip poked out and looking for all the world like she was about to burst into tears.
I swallowed the lump in my own throat and with forced cheerfulness reminded her that Lambie was waiting back at the condo. Lambie always does the trick.
“Bye-bye, ocean!” she said brightly, before turning to race back up the beach.
“Bye-bye, ocean,” I whispered. But the words caught in my throat.
A few hours later, I peered through the tiny airplane window at the crystal blue ocean below. Then I closed the shade in an effort to help lull Lil’ Bit – sprawled horizontally across both our laps – into some semblance of a nap. When I opened it again, I saw only the muddy brown waters of the Chesapeake below.
I’d had a fabulous vacation.
And now it was over.
C’est la vie.