I heard his tell-tale screeches from all the way down the beach. A young boy, around eight by my best guess, clearly thought he was going to die of pain. I stayed out of the pandemonium at first, trying not to be the (nosy) kind of person who tells someone else how to do their job, but his parents were turning themselves around in circles, picking up and dropping towels, dumping water bottles onto his skinny, paralyzed little limbs and making a wrinkled, sandy mess of their perfect pallets near the water’s edge.
We are not morning people. The Restless, I mean.
But we also don’t sleep well. Ever.
There is a stirring in our soul, an ember of new life flickering in our hearts that isn’t going to give us a moment’s peace until we follow it.
It’s been a long time. Since joy. Since love. Since contentment.
A whole life lived for others. No more.
Stability is not safe for us. Selflessness is not healthy for us.
Smallness in anything kills us a little bit more everyday.
This picture, this memory of this sunrise, will show up for me a year from now. I want to be reminded of this feeling, that restlessness, the universe’s plan for what my life is supposed to be about.
It’s not this…what you’re living now. This place and these people are not the end of your story. Or mine. Everything to now has been a preparation for our story.
I can’t sleep because I plan. You plot. We imagine. I dream. Things that are big, things that are unimaginable to someone who doesn’t have our circumstances. Our freedoms. Our drive. Our minds.
In a year, I hope you will have a whole new life. I know I will. And I want to remember that on this morning we just needed to keep telling ourselves everyday just to hold on a little bit longer.
I was married to two very handsome men in my life and neither one of them ever owned a suit. I come from a small town, so did my two husbands, so I’d have to say that was probably our main problem. Tailored suits weren’t part of anyone’s fashion repertoire in those Tastee Freeze communities we grew up in, unlike, say, the Levis jeans and Guy Harvey t-shirts we most often see Florida panhandle boys wearing. For the boys I loved, dressing up meant wearing a Columbia shirt and Dockers, for goodness sake. Read more
All over the world at any given moment there are billions of people missing someone they’ve lost. Tonight, that was us.
Float-building with dad. Parade driving with dad. Tie-straightening with dad. That was our week, only the dad wasn’t with us. It’s hard, if you don’t know. Most don’t.
His Bio for the Homecoming Court read that he liked surfing, snowboarding, and being Captain of the Swim Team. It also read – in its original form – that he was the son of two people instead of just one, but that part was edited out. Maybe it was too much to ask to include it. Maybe it didn’t seem as important to someone else. Maybe it made those folks uncomfortable. Read more
Yesterday was Saturday, ahhhhh, which meant I could sleep in and not have to put on my pencil skirts and heels to go to work, and that was just about all that mattered to me in the world.
I had friends in town from Tuscaloosa. Dinner and drinks somewhere local was on the agenda. I knew we would hit Pegleg’s because, well, that’s where everybody wants to go when they stay on the beach. I was excited about relaxing with the girls, enjoying our bushwhackers and talking about girl things…husbands, kids, careers, I don’t know…shoes, maybe? Read more
The following letter is republished with permission from its original author.
Dear High School Me,
When I look back at you, I see a girl who felt trapped in high school. You were the popular, pretty cheerleader, but you were also known as the Party Girl. People knew you were the one who liked to have a little too much fun. You didn’t know your limits, and you did not know your worth. In the moment, you didn’t always know what you were supposed to do. However, the lessons you learned are ones you can bring to use now that you are older. Read more
The first thing that caught my attention was The Mom. That Mom. We all know her. She would never admit that her mean-girl daughter ever did anything wrong, but sometimes she pretended she did only to feign (for the rest of us) that some sort of discipline was taking place in their home, which we were all absolutely certain it wasn’t. She had that same child tested for gifted programs after she used one fancy word properly one time at dinner. She signed the girl up for piano lessons and ballet and French and soccer, then whined about the child’s teachers giving her too much homework. Yet she intentionally put her in the best classes at the best school with all the best teachers, teachers who were (dare we say) kinda tough and didn’t curve on a scale. And That Mom drove all the rest of us insane when she pretended to be annoyed while she whined and rolled her eyes at how demanding her child’s friends’ six-birthday-parties-this-month! were going to be on their already-busy lives.
Am I talking about this book or I am I talking about my own life?
As my time teaching and living with teenagers draws closer to an end, I am finding it hard to keep my excitement contained. Teenagers are exhausting in their very own unique way, anyone who knows them would attest to this. So I remind myself constantly that soon this stage in my life will be over and I will be free of these highly-charged, 100-mph, full-bore years forever and be on to something less…less…everything. Read more
My house is a rental. I haven’t lived here very long, just a little over four months, and there are zero sentimentalities about this place in my catalogue of dearest memories ever. On more than one occasion, in fact, as I got to know my condo on the beach a little better, it has occurred to me that this place has seen its share of terrifying storms. The scars are everywhere. There’s a little lean to the floor in the hallway upstairs, and the whole place literally moans when the wind is blowing. Long story short, if The Big One Named Irma were to decide she was coming to Pensacola, I would pack up a few Rubbermaid bins of pictures, put my renter’s insurance policy in my car, and drive away happy and content with my kid and my dog, never looking back. This place has days that are numbered, and I’m okay with that. Read more
A lady in a bathing suit and a coverup trudged through the hot sand and brought him two huge plates of food. The first one had a mountain of steamed shrimp, fried snapper, mac-n-cheese, hushpuppies and cheese biscuits. A little bit after that she brought over a literal stack of grilled hotdogs, backyard burgers with all the fixins and potato salad. “Here you go, Shuga. I hope you hungry. You sure are a sweet boy.”
A little while before that, another woman had already walked over to him with her hands on her hips. “Sir!” she said. “YOUNG MAN! Can you please tell me what the animal regulations are on this beach?”
“There aren’t supposed to be any animals on the beach, ma’am.”
“Well! That’s precisely what I thought!” And then she asked that nice young lifeguard to march right over and tell those other people to remove their dog from the beach immediately.
He did. Sort of. Read more