I guess the ocean is what I have been missing. The ocean, and family. Last weekend my sisters and I went to the beach on Isle of Palms off the coast of South Carolina, where my mother was attending a conference for work. I don’t really see my family very often. I forget what it’s like, to have other humans with similar traits puzzling through the same problems. Especially my sisters, who are A+ examples of how to survive with the Muscato DNA. Our anxiety-addled brains. The tide lapped around our ankles while we debated about whether or not to go further out into the warm water with the low, rolling waves on a perfectly sunny 70-degree day.
Staring into the middle distance, like she’s about to make some poetic comment, my mom says: Do you know what a riptide is?
No, no we don’t.
It’ll kill you. If it starts pulling you under, swim parallel to the beach.
I kind of wanted to go out more, chase a few bigger waves. Hope my bikini top stayed tied. Leave the ocean floor for a moment. But then, the riptide.
Christina and I hung back. Lisa waded out farther. The sand was so high underneath the tide that it looked like she was walking on water. We followed, gentle surf, no rocks, wanting to get hit with a really big wave to feel it sweep me off my feet, not wanting to find out if this sand dropped off into nothing, and we’d have to swim, and maybe get swept up by a riptide. Our mother went back to the beach and stood stiffly by the towels, watching us wade away from shore.