The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group.
Bev: The smell was familiar and touched a deep place in my heart. It was clear long before we saw it. The scent of the sea is unmistakable, but not apparent at all until you get up and over the ridge of mountains that shield the sight, sound, and scent of the ocean from the valley. We only made the trip once a year but this time it had been five years and anticipation of the wonders of the seashore.
Susan: The kids in the backseat were antsy and loud. Little Billy was especially vocal because he had been too little to remember the trip the last time. Now he was wiggling around in his car seat, causing Emma to upend her can of soda and splash Evie with orange creme all over her Sunday dress. Undaunted, I pulled the car over and pulled each kid out. All lined up against the car, I scrubbed and blotted and straightened each one until we were ready to continue on the journey.
The light sea breeze was calling. The destination close. The kids were all back into their places as I started the car.
Mary: What would they do now? We had a long drive ahead of us. Could we get there safe and sound? The kids fell asleep but I knew I’d better stay awake. It would be a long time until we got to the beach.
DK: The night before had been a mas rush to find the motel, switch rooms when the toilet didn’t work, eat a hurried snack, shower, and tumble into bed. We were all exhausted. Traveling with four kids under the age of ten was harder than I remembered. I had hidden the option for a sleep over back in the recesses of my mind, but now was so thankful that I had packed a spare bag with extra clothes and essentials.
Six AM. Bill was first to wake, screaming “Momma! Momma! I can see the ocean!” He jumped up and down on the bed waking all his siblings.
Lorelle: I was surprised at the speed the children took to get dressed and out of the motel. Back home, it could take 45 minutes to get most of them up, showed, dressed, and off to school This morning, it was accomplished at whirlwind speeds in under five minutes.
Pails, plastic shovels, umbrellas, sun lotion, towels, sun hats, all flew in wild semi-synchronous order onto bodies as if pulled in with rare earth magnets. We all traipsed down the path to the beach below, colorful and noisy, my parade of ducklings.
The beach didn’t stand a chance. The kids tore into it like it was under construction, a demolition derby of digging, building, tearing down, and rebuilding. By nightfall, the tide would come in and erase their day of labor, but for now, they were master builders and architects.
The supervisor of the anarchy, I sat under one of the umbrellas and read, until my cell phone alarm reminded me it was time for another dousing of sun lotion on the precious skin of my ducklings.
By evening, the worn out tykes were quick to shower off sandy warm bodies and drift contented off to sleep. I smiled at them as I stepped outside and closed the door. Finally alone.
Cheri: This was my time, and thanks to the bottle of brandy I had thrown into my bag, I could sit down and let myself relax. It occurred to me that my parents had probably felt the same way at one point. After dealing with all of us kids, they would tuck us in and retire to a quiet place in order to spend a little time alone with each other, probably talking about the day. But here I sat, alone, with no one to reflect with other than my brandy and the sound of the ocean. Being alone is hard, and I often wonder how I arrived here, solitary, with no one to share the events of the day. Of course, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just happened. Circumstances beyond my control. But it doesn’t make the loneliness any less painful.
DSO: Death of a spouse is not an easy thing. Who am I supposed to be angry at? Steve? God? The drunk driver? His boss for demanding he go that night? Am I jealous because he is safe now and I am left here with the issues of life to deal with? He was always telling me brandy can never be a good friend because it dulls the zest for life that helps make good decisions.