Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beach Buds

I had to be at work by 3PM, but it was only 10 in the morning, so I decided to take my siblings with me to the beach.  It was the end of July, the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school, and we hadn’t been to the beach much, and school was starting in a month, so today was as good a day as any.  In fact, registration was in three weeks, and Drill Team practice started in a week, which meant this was my last week to go to the beach.
I had gotten my driver’s license in March the second half of my sophomore year (never got held back in school, only “back started” since the Philippine and American school years did not coincided, and whereas I should have been placed in 6th grade when we moved to Guam, they put me in 5th grade instead supposedly because of my limited English), and so gone were the days of riding bikes to Bubbling Springs or to the Library.  My family had a white 12-passenger Chevy Sport Van with 18-inch, red reflector  “JESUS SAVES”  lettering in the back.  I became the chauffeur of what was dubbed The Hallelujah Mobile (THM). 
So we packed THM with blankets, straw mats, towels, and a cooler full of junk food and we headed to Hueneme Beach, picked out a spot, set up camp, and began our favorite sport:  boy watching.  To my dismay, we had forgotten our pair of binoculars, so  my ever resourceful sister Jean fashioned one by touching the tip of her forefinger to the tip of her thumb on either hand, putting them together, and began scanning the shore with her makeshift binoculars.
“Hubba-hubba” she crooned, “Fox alert along the edge of the water.  Two of them!”
“Lemme  see,” I shrieked, as I grabbed her binoculars, nearly knocking her sideways toward me, and I peered through her hands. 
“Make your own binoculars,” she laughed, and yanked back hers.  “I think that’s Rick Dionne!”
Per Jean’s instructions, I fashioned my own pair of binocs and scanned the shoreline.  Sure enough, there they were, Rick Dionne and another fox, kicking the water as they walked along the edge.
“Oh my gosh, that’s Alice!”   exclaimed Jean at the very same time I gasped, “Oh my gosh, that’s Bud Stud!”
Alice was Jean’s classmate, and Bud Stud’s photo currently occupied the Far Left spot on my bedroom’s Wall of Fame.  In case you forgot or haven’t read,  there were five photos on my Wall of Fame, ranked in order, Far Left being the one that, should Serendipity cause him to meet me, was most likely to get a yes if he proposed marriage.
For a while, we just enjoyed boywatching (ok, so I drooled and imagined myself walking barefooted on the beach, hand in hand with Bud Stud) for a little bit, and then Jean got bored.  She jumped up and announced, “I’m gonna talk to Alice.”
“Alice! Alice”  Jean called, waving her hands over her head.  I watched in horror as Alice turned around, and ran toward Jean.   They met halfway, exchanged a few shrieks and giggles, and then Alice and Jean were both running toward our blanket.
“What’s this I hear about you being in love with Bud Stud?” asked Alice.
“I’m not in love with him, I just have a huge crush on him,” I clarified, “but YOU CAN’T TELL HIM ABOUT ABOUT IT!”
“Why not?”
“Just ‘cuz!  Besides, I just think he’s cute.  I don’t know enough about him to be in love with him.”
“Liar!” accused Jean.”She has his picture on the wall in her room and she watches him pass by our house every day with googoo eyes!”
“I’ma go tell him” grinned Alice.
“Alice, please don’t,”  I begged.  Then I covered my face with the current classic literature I was reading and lied down, hoping the sand dunes would hide me from Bud Stud’s line of sight.  I didn’t think Serendipity would be  kind enough to strike me dead with a lightning bolt on a cloudless day at the beach in the middle of Summer.
To my great consternation, Alice announced again, “I’m telling him.  He needs to know!” and off she ran.
My sisters gave me the play by play of what was going on, but I wasn’t listening, I was too busy planning rest of my life.  Maybe I could go live with relatives in the Philippines.  Maybe I could join a convent, then dismissed the idea – one had to be Catholic to become a nun.  Maybe I could…
“They’re gone,” announced Jean.
With a great sigh of relief, I took the book off my face and sat up.
There he was, along the edge of the water, just standing next to Alice, who was pointing at me.
And then he lifted his arm, held it up for a few seconds, and waved.

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