She giggled, looking at her toes in the water. Her mother held her just high enough for it to be her choice if her toes went in or out, and she was fully absorbed in the process of stretching her leg and foot out to find the water before pulling them up and in, only to repeat the process over and over and over again, giggling every time. This was, clearly, the best game ever invented. Her mother smiled, too, finding her own giggles. They had come down to the beach to escape the heat of their apartment, and nature was providing them with the perfect respite.
As the mother and toddler enjoyed the water, another parent/child pair played nearby. The sand was the key element for them, and they work-played in comfortable silence, building different parts of a sand-castle. It was an intricate multi-faceted model, complete with a moat and a drawbridge. They were evenly matched and perfectly happy with this slow and quiet togetherness.
The sun was doing its job of warming both the sand and water as it hovered half way down from the top of its arc. The water swished around all the swimmers, presenting different colors as it went, as if it was emulating the skin of a snake. Gentle waves lapped the shore, creating a little strip of froth at the very edge. The unseasonably warm temperatures had brought a lot of people out to the beach. It seemed like there was a representative from every element of the town’s population determined to eke out this last breath of summer fun.
Two teens walked along the edge of the water, focused more on each other than on their surroundings. They held hands too tightly and walked so stiffly it was clearly a new relationship that still had a lot to prove to itself. They wove themselves around the random children and adults playing in the water and continued on their mostly straight path.
When the ice cream truck pulled up, blasting its siren song, there was a collective moment of silence before the excited noises of hungry children filled the beach. Very little says summer like the ice cream truck, and today was all about summer. Everyone knew it. The ice cream truck driver knew it. His first thought upon seeing the weather in the morning was about his truck and getting her as close to as many beaches as possible. Days like today didn’t happen every year, and he was ready to reap the benefits.
Everyone was excited except for the toddler. She hadn’t learned the way of the Ice Cream Truck. To her, the way her toes changed when they were in the water was probably the most important thing she’d ever experienced, and some singing truck thing wasn’t nearly as compelling. Luckily her mom was just as content with water play as ice cream buying so everything stayed just fine. These two were the only ones on the beach and facing the water as the sun was getting ready to set.
They were the ones to see it first.
It started right at their feet. The water temperature dropped, HARD, before the water stopped moving. A full stop. Completely still. The mother notice the change and, much to the toddler’s chagrin, started backing up from the water. She wanted to have the whole beach in her view. As she backed up, the woman scanned the beach, looking for a sign of them. The beautiful horse-like forms she remembered.
**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**