The drive to Cape Cod wasn’t as exhausting as everyone’s complaints may have made it seem. The six hour drive was dragged out through many-a-pit stop, thanks to Sammy, and Jamie and Jet’s beckoning “are we there yet” questions did not help either. Sammy was the most impatient; being the youngest will do that to you I guess because your life has been so short you haven’t had to wait much for anything. Especially Sammy, because by the time my mom had a fourth child my parents pretty much gave into the tantrums.
At the second to last stop, we had lunch at a Subway off the highway in Massachusetts. I couldn’t wait to order avocado on my six inch turkey sub, they’re my favorite. I have an un-diagnosed obsession, avocados and Chobani; although not at the same time of course. I got on line and debated in my head if I should even be eating a sandwich because the bread is a lot of carbs and I guilt myself out of every carb-filled opportunity, usually. My guilty conscience can be a very powerful thing. That’s probably why it’s the second night in Cape Cod as of now and I’ve passed up all ice cream and delicious breakfast opportunities, as well as woke up early this morning to go on a run and do my ab workouts. It’s hard core. If I keep this up all week I will hopefully lose a couple pounds before returning back home, especially right before school starts up again.
As I waited online and contemplated my order, I figured I might as well get over the carbohydrate intake for this meal because I was going to go hard without them all week. I got online and ordered my sandwich, then looked up and accidentally locked eyes with the cashier. I smiled at him uncomfortably then quickly looked down at my different colored, painted toes. Suddenly I became aware that I was wearing Sally’s zebra Soffee shorts which made the fact that the cashier is even looking at me even more uncomfortable. He looked about my age, maybe a year or two older. From down the line when I was making my sandwich I noticed him solely because of his earring in his left ear. Although he was wearing a visor over his buzzed, dirty blond hair and matching collared t-shirt, the way the earring caught the light made me care that I was standing in front of him in animal print Soffees. I looked ridiculous, but his next comment made me forget about the shorts all together.
“Nice shirt,” he said as I looked up with a delayed reaction. It was hard for me to process there was a boy talking to me due to the way I looked. My hair was in a deflated messy-bun (the worst kind of messy-buns) and hadn’t been brushed for the past week because I was too lazy to do anything with it. Zero makeup, my face was about the pasty shade of my ass or some other place that’s never seen sun, and did not in any way shape or form match the rest of my bronzed body. Don’t ask me why, but this unfortunate pigment change occurs several days after every tan I acquire. It sucks.
I carefully examined my shirt and pulled it down at the bottom with my free hand to read it as my other held a tight grip on my Starbucks cup.
“Ohhh, yeah?” I paused for a split second, but then started talking again because I knew it would be awkward if I stopped any longer. His lips began to move as if he was going to say something to keep the conversation going but I jumped in anyways. “Yeah I saw them in concert!” He smiled as he talked to me about how lucky I was.
Why am I telling you this story about some Subway guy talking to me? I do not know. But for some reason it made me wonder if he might have been flirting with me, but didn’t come back into mind until the next morning.
It was a beautiful day and I awoke feeling refreshed after my early run and shower. I ran through sandy paths that wound in and out of the woodsy terrain that eventually led to a bridge I found leading to town. Cape Cod continued to amaze me with it’s combination of sand, sun and trees.
None of my siblings were awake yet, so while my dad, Linda, and my Uncle Johnny and Aunt Susan went for a long walk to town, I decided to sketch the outside of their house from across the quiet street. My dad was the one that had the idea that I should draw them something before we left and maybe frame it at the end of the week to give to them; a thank you gift for having us. This entire week I’ve been ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the nature and the fabulous sketching opportunities, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty with this assignment.
I walked across the street with my sketchbook and pencil, barefoot, wrapped in my sweatshirt with my still damp and frizzy hair pulled back into a single french braid. Even though I put it on my packing list, I didn’t remember my Garnier scrunching mousse so my hair would have to remain as much up and out of my face as possible the whole week. It might work out to my advantage, I thought. I’ve been straightening my hair too much and it would probably be best for it to stay al naturàlfor the next week, I figured.
I picked out a nice, clear spot under the shade of the pine trees across the speckly, gray street. The sand was dusty and the pine needles that had fallen from the trees along with the long beach grass created a nice bed where my butt could sit comfortably. I propped up my drawing pad on my knees and examined what I had to work with. The angles, the dimensions, the depth, and the proportions; I measured it all out before placing the quaint, little house on my paper. I picked up my pencil and sketched a light vertical line where I wanted the edge of the house to start and then held it up horizontally in front of me as far as my arm could reach. I squinted and measured out the width of the house then recorded it the best I could.
After about an hour of squinting and recording (or so it seemed), Sammy peeked her head out from the screen door.
“What are you doing?” she said rather loudly from the front stoop. Her naturally highlighted, dirty blond hair hung just below her shoulders in a messy tangle of sleepiness and her brown eyes were open in slits, squinting at me through the sunlight.
“Drawing,” I responded rather plainly, in way too deep at this point to really take a break to talk.
“Where is everyone?” She continued to ask questions in her morning daze, obviously confused and still a little foggy as she walked across the street to join me. She plopped down beside me and examined what I had so far, nothing could impress her anymore after living with me and seeing my mass of art projects I would bring home to work on every week. Sammy is funny. Her ten-year-old humor is filled with naive sarcasm and her blatant honesty and colorful attitude is nothing close to bitchy, whereas when she reaches Jamie’s age it will be. She’s cute though, thinning out the more she stretches through her growth spurts; kind of like taffy I guess you could say. Not lanky, but definitely in better shape than any of us were at her age because she’s so athletic.
“They went on a walk to town I guess.” We sat there and talked about the bridge that I crossed this morning and how the path that we were on yesterday continued to lead through the woods and over the bridge to town. She was excited and curious; eager to check it out. I waved a hand over to two beach chairs in the driveway that were propped up against a tree and told her to fetch them for us to sit in.
When she returned an old, gray Volvo drove buy slowly, pulling into the driveway on our left. The front gate of it was half torn off and the license plate was rusted. I expected to see an old man in the drivers seat, but instead I was caught off guard to catch the eye of a guy about my age with, from what I could see, dirty brown, curly hair.
“Was that guy in Subway flirting with you?” Sally asked out of the blue. It’s weird she asked only because when the cute boy drove by it made me think about the feeling I got in Subway when the cashier sparked a conversation. Something between shocked and flirtatiously optimistic, I would say. I’m talking as if I am a single girl here, but keep in mind although I’m physically in a relationship my mind tends to wander like a single girl’s would. It’s a blessing and a curse.
I laughed at Sammy’s question and asked:
“Where did that come from?!” Although I knew that the cute boy in the driver’s seat of the beat up Volvo brought her memory back to Subway as it did mine. We are more alike than I thought I suppose.
“I don’t knooow…” she asked, embarrassed. “I’m just wondering!”
“Well I don’t know either, maybe.” I focused my attention back on my sketch pad as Sammy giggled with delight.
Soon enough she got bored with sitting out there with me for so long and probably worked up an appetite. A while after she headed inside and I was far into outlining the back house and quite satisfied with my work so far, the Volvo crept out of the driveway and stopped in front of me. But this time, there wasn’t just the curly-haired boy from before, but his friendly, dark haired, dark-eyed friend in the passenger’s side closest to me.
“Hey! Are you drawing?” the mysteriously attractive boy shouted from the open window. My heart raced spirattically as I tried my best to play it cool, and I have to admit I was doing a pretty good job 😉
“Yep,” I said calmly from my beach chair, showing no intention of getting up or moving.
“Can I see?” His dark brown eyes beckoned me towards him as I lifted myself up from the chair and made my way over to the car to show him. It was kind of plain, but not bad at all. Very clean cut, straight edges, far from done, but good progress so far. “Cool- is that for like an architecture project or are you just drawin’ for fun?” I shook my head and laughed.
“No haha it’s for my aunt and uncle cuz we’re staying with them,” I said as I gestured toward the house.
“Oh nice!” His beaming white smile reflected off of me as I beamed right back.
“Could ya draw me?!” a voice piped in from an invisible source. For a moment I forgot there was another person in the car, and the surf board in between the two front seats that stretched through the length of the car didn’t help me remember.
I ducked down so I could see more into the car at who I was talking to.
“I can’t see you!” I said, all smiley and nervous as to how I was going to respond to his question. He poked his head over the top of the board’s edge and I just giggled nervously and waited for them to say something. When neither of them did, I started being my old awkward self again.
“Hah, I mean… suuuureee-” I was cut off a little too late by the hot friend who thankfully came to my rescue.
“Well, tell your aunt and uncle the neighbors across the street say hi, see ya!” And they were off. I said bye too, of course, but I was very shaken up at the time and thinking back I can’t seam to remember quite how I said it. I turned around and made my way back to my side-of-the-road beach chair, and after attempting to get back to work for a mere couple seconds, decided my shaky hand couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life. It wasn’t the best time to continue the drawing.
By that time, my family got back from their walk. When I raced inside, my dad and siblings were around the kitchen table eating pancakes and fruit and I couldn’t resist the urge to tell them what just happened.
“…and then he was like ‘tell your aunt and uncle we say hi!’ and drove away but oh my God they were so hot and I didn’t even know what to say.” They all laughed at me as the butterflies grew into swarms, just remembering it all. I couldn’t believe that. What a stroke of luck? Me getting attention from random guys while looking like complete shit? TWICE? I had to be dreaming. SHIT. I stopped smiling almost as if getting bit by a horrible bug in the midst of laughing hysterically. “OH MY GOD. My hair!” I raced down the stairs into the basement where the four of our bed’s were set up and into our bathroom.
I was immediately disgusted. No makeup, no hair products, no NOTHING. I looked like a shithead. And whatever happened, happened. Guess I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while, or at least if their “avoid-the-loser-freak-from-across-the-street” plan pans out nicely then I wouldn’t; which would mostly likely be the case after almost shattering the mirror I was looking into. I was surprised they didn’t even speed away after I came into close enough view of their car, putting skid marks in the road and sending a high-pitched screech while leaving a smell of burnt rubber behind as they made their get away. I should be thankful they even stopped let alone had a conversation with me. I am not over reacting, it was that bad.
Later in the day (after applying proper makeup and fixing my hair into a classy bun), we all packed up our beach bags and headed to an off-road “duck pond” as Aunt Susan put it. Although there were no ducks, and we did have to travel about 10 minutes by car and at least 5 by foot through the thick woods of Massachusetts to get there, the pond was so cute. It was beautiful and appeared to be perfectly round as the trees opened up from the path and the water came into view. It wasn’t too big either, the beach was small which left little space for sunlight and sunbathing, but the water was gorgeous and clear. There were only a couple of other families around the lake with us, and the little children played with turtles they caught in the shallow water. The turquoise from the shallow parts by the beach cut off to a deep green when the water got deeper, creating a natural boundary for the children.
Jamie, Jet and I swam out and made it our goal to swim across the entire lake and back. It wasn’t too far, I said as I told them how I swam twice the distance at Mitch’s lake house in upstate New York. It’s true, and that was far worse. This was a piece of cake compared to that Olympic adventure.
When Jet decided to head back, Jamie and I took a detour to find a deflated tube a quarter of the ways over on the shore from where the few people including our family sat. There were no people on this side of the lake, and the tube was very much deflated. As we got closer to shore the water became warmer and warmer until I actually felt hot swimming in it. I could see the sandy bottom but was hesitant to touch my feet to it, as if in fear that something deadly was waiting below. Jamie screeched as she let her feet skim against the sand. I hesitantly but firmly planted my feet into it and walked out. There had to be at least fifteen tiny frogs that lept in as I walked across the shore, so I caught one, named it Billy, and walked along the sand all the way back to show everyone.
The lake glistened and all we could hear and see were the faint splashes of the frogs as they jumped, invisibly from the shore and into the clear water. They buried their heads under the dirt and stood deathly still as they waited for us to walk by. It was adorable and I’ve never felt so close to nature. I grew up a lot more close to it since my mom was always around more. She encouraged me to watch educational television and would always be really into the sweet sounds of bird calls. For my little brother, Jet’s fourth birthday party she hired a naturalist who came in with different animals. I wondered what ever happened to that side of my mom as I watched my toes squish through the muddy sand and stroked Billy’s wide-eyed head.
The end of the day was relaxing. The late-night ice cream temptation, I was able to put off for the first night. The second night was a challenge, but I overcame it. I heard it’s good to go to sleep hungry so I intend to do so tonight.
The house is quiet now, with nothing but the sound of the crickets chirping from the marsh and the cat creaking across the old, wooden floors. Being alone with my thoughts can’t be very good, especially when I have no apparent direction in thinking them anymore now that I’ve ended the day. The sooner I sleep the sooner the morning will come. I can’t help but feel like that wasn’t the end of the neighborly run ins, and I can’t help but be excited for tomorrow morning when I continue drawing.
I fall asleep wondering what fate will bring to my doorstep next.