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The breeze is blowing ever so softly, lightly enough to wake me from my afternoon nap. I sit up to recollect where it is that I am. As it all comes back to me, I remember that I’m exactly where I want to be—home on the Wildwood beaches.
I look down at my blue and green striped beach chair and discover that my once pressed towel has fallen from behind my head and is now on the ground, covered with gray and silver pockets of sand. The two identical pink and yellow striped beach chairs to my left, once occupied by my two friends are now sitting idle, casting shadows onto the sand from the sun. I begin to wonder where everyone is, glancing around until a house behind me sitting quaintly and peacefully, as if in a still picture, grabs my attention, pulling me away from my friends. The gray and teal shutters give the place a sort of appeal in a way, contrasting with the chipped white siding. It reminds me of a vacation cottage from years ago before my time—back to a Wildwood I hear only stories of. Walking along the shoreline one would never be able to spot it, for the dunes cover the landscape of the house. The house makes me smile as I imagine what Wildwood must have been like back then and how it has changed, but somehow still managed to stay the same and keep that mystery and wonder and excitement one finds in a seaside resort town.
It’s been a good ten minutes since I’ve woken up, and I still see no sign of my friends. But I’m not worried about it. It’s too beautiful and serene to worry. Deciding I’d rather not get up and walk, I lean further down in my chair and take in the scene around me.
It’s rather warm today, and the sun is beating down against the water, almost stinging it in a sort of way. The ocean looks extra blue for June, with hints of greenish patches swirling in the waves as they form perfectly and break, their white mists running to catch the beach shore. Seagulls pairing together fly by repeatedly, scooping down and touching the ocean surface, scavenging for fish.
The beach has grown longer since last summer, but that’s part of its appeal. It makes it easier to hold the large amount of beachgoers during those hot summer days. I notice it’s particularly crowded today as I lounge back by the dunes, burying my feet under the white, smooth sand. Umbrellas in assortments of bright colors and designs stretch the beach on both sides of me and in front of me and go on for as far as I can see. And as far as I can see, there is still no sign of my friends.
The smell of sunscreen floods my nostrils, and I remember how my mother used to make my brothers and me form a single line before we left the house and walked the block to the beach, taking turns getting lathered from head to toe with Water Babies lotion. I watch in front of me as a mother does the same to her little girl now, while the girl squeezes her eyes shut and tries to squirm away. She reminds me of myself when I was that age.
It’s quiet for the most part, with the occasional chatter from people around me. I notice a couple sitting down by the water’s edge relaxing and enjoying each other’s company as they keep an eye on their little boy standing a few feet away from them. I watch as he runs and plays tag with the water, giggling and smiling from ear to ear.
Maybe my friends walked towards the boardwalk, I gather. I look to my right and see a man sitting on a blue beach towel. I notice his eyes are shut and his chest is a deep red with the kind of sunburn that hurts for days. He won’t be happy when he wakes and notices his burns and that he missed the end of the baseball game sounding from his radio. He was listening to the Phillies lose again before he fell into his slumber. His cooler and chair are placed around him, while his clothes make a small ball on top of his flip-flops. But still no sign of my friends.
I look to my left and notice a woman in a red and white polka-dot bikini. Her face is glistening from the sun, and her iPod blares at the loudest volume to Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance.” Good song. Her magazine is propped open in front of her and her phone rests on her stomach. No friends to my left, either.
I draw my attention back towards the water and conclude my friends simply went to the hotdog vendor, who is always parked on the street, and didn’t want to disturb me by wakening me. I can taste the sweet sensation of sauerkraut on my tongue as I imagine eating the hotdog they’ll bring back for me, sipped down by an ice-cold Coke. That has to be it—that’s where they went. But I’m not too worried about it. It’s too beautiful and serene to worry. After all, I’m right where I want to be—home on the Wildwood beaches. With this, I slowly shut my eyes and calmly drift away into a light sleep. Hopefully when I awaken, they’ll be back…with my hotdog in hand.

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