The eight hour drive from Connecticut to Virginia was closer to ten hours with all the bathroom breaks and miscellaneous stops. Thomas Hinkley wondered why they didn’t fly. He thought his kids would soon be grown, or too disinterested for the late August vacation at their Kandle Beach timeshare. To redeem the time before this truth was nigh, he endured countless hours of bickering and his wife Becky’s endless threats.
Thomas shrugged his broad shoulders as he watched his children scramble out of the van. He grinned to himself as Becky wagged a well manicured finger at the youngest, Theresa (Reesa), warning her against wandering off. He decided this year was not as bad as others.
Janet and Kyle- the Hinkley’s older children- set the table while Becky finished making a tossed salad.
“I don’t see why we have to cook this big meal,” she complained. “I cook almost everyday at home- isn’t this my vacation, too?”
To Thomas, he’d heard “my” come from Becky more often than he liked.
“Honey, this is what we do. We travel to Virginia for a week and we have a big family dinner before everybody gets busy with their own activities.”
He calmly stroked her sandy brown hair and massaged her sunken shoulders. As Thomas peered into her sorrowful green eyes, his frustration turned to pity. Becky had sacrificed a lot to support his dream to practice law and it showed in her face.
“Okay, Becky. Put the salad on ice and we’ll eat at Abner’s tonight. You like
Abner’s don’t you?”
Becky didn’t have to say a word. Her grateful nod spoke volumes.
The next morning Janet decided the family should get to the beach early before it got crowded. She was fourteen, and it amused Thomas when she made her dramatic declarations in an attempt to seem more mature. Kyle, their precocious nine year old, solidly objected to Janet’s request. This time Janet prevailed and they jetted out to the beach as Becky chased them with sunscreen, leaving Thomas to carry the “things”, and lock up.
Thomas burrowed his feet in the warm white sand while Becky read a novel. They both watched the kids- especially Reesa- periodically warning them to stay close. This was a feeling Thomas had loved since he was young. Though he was a forty-two year old successful lawyer, when he sat on the beach wriggling his toes in the sand, he was eight years old again.
As he reminisced he glanced up to check on the kids. Janet chatted with a neighbor. Kyle built mud castles in the water. Reesa- where was Reesa? Thomas quietly stood up and scanned the crowd. Sensing his panicked air, Becky leaped out of her beach chair. Dread quickly turned to relief when they realized Reesa had nestled behind Becky’s chair and fallen asleep. They nervously laughed and as their eyes met, something seemed to spark; something that hadn’t been there in years.