(Original sketch by Barbara Scott Keene titled Bathing Beauty)
The sand is so hot we hop through the dips and onto the scratchy Army blanket. Gulls screech swooping, always looking for food. The umbrella, styrofoam cooler and towels drop like I drop my clothes getting ready for bed-in a scatter. The waves swell and I dive, closing my eyes against the burn, surfacing quickly, I lick my lips and taste the salty water. It is an incoming tide. Shivering, arms crossing my front, a flat chest, I squint to see my mother. A beauty in her wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and painted red toes; she sits low on the beach watching me. I feel like she is always watching me. I am the center of her world, or so it seems. I like it that way. Just then, an incoming wave crashes into me and I fall.