Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sand Sisters


It’s about 7 pm, and the girls are done on the beach, even though the sun won’t even consider signs of setting for another three hours.
I turn in time to see them gathering towels. The organizer, her friend probably thinks of her as put together at turns and bossy at others, shows the chubby girl how to hold the corners and fold, despite the wind. They each take two corners, and, without warning, the organizer shakes the towel to rid it of any sand. But the chubby girl wasn’t paying attention and lost her corners.
I can see the next step coming and wonder if Organizer-bossy can. Chubby picks up the corners, waits for Organizer-bossy to be off her game and shakes the towel out of her hands. They struggle a bit, but Organizer-bossy gets them through it, and soon they have a perfectly folded towel between them.
Organizer-bossy leans down and adds it to her pile of things to carry. She stands and says something to Chubby. Chubby pulls off her hoody-towel and the two set to trying to fold it as they had the first. But the hoody-towel presents some logistical problems. At first, the girls solve this by turning--slowly making a 180 degree roundabout while holding the towel carefully--because they had folded it with the opening toward the wind and couldn’t control the towel.
Chubby decides, as soon as they take their new spots in the hot sand that this is the perfect time to shake her hoody-towel. Organizer-bossy is clearly not prepared for this. She gets angry, picks up the towel and shakes it violently out of her friend’s hands. Chubby returns the favor, and in no time the two are in the sand, wrestling for control of the hoody-towel that didn’t need folding in the first place. They are half-laughing, half yelling, while they kick and pull. It seems, in the end, that Organizer-bossy wins control of the towel, but as she gets up, she throws it on the sand.
Chubby picks up the towel and tries to fold it on her own, but the wind that has swept the beach all day makes this task is impossible. Organizer-bossy makes a move to help but is waved off by Chubby, whose feelings have now been hurt. In minutes, she is frustrated and somehow Organizer-bossy has come around and put an arm on her shoulder. The two make another attempt with the hoody-towel, but they have trouble agreeing on what to do with the hoody as it hangs from the middle of the towel. Finally, they somehow agree to ignore its existence. Organizer-bossy is standing akimbo. Chubby is standing with her hoody-towel a mess.
When they begin walking, barely looking at each other, clearly back to frustration, Chubby discovers a part of the boardwalk that’s broken off. She drops her hoody-towel to bend down and turn it, refitting it in place. This catches Organizer-bossy’s attention. She drops her things as well and soon the girls are working on a new project. 
I watch them leave, piled towels in their arms, leaning into each other, deep tans witnessing the hours they have spent together on this sand. The entire time I’ve been watching my younger sister and I, somehow.