Summer. It was Sean’s favorite time of the year. The time where he didn’t have to worry about school and assignments and angry teachers. It was also the time when he and his mom got to actually spend time together without his squabbling grandparents around, who, for some reason, didn’t like him very much and they were still mad at his mom. It was probably because he was a reminder of his dad who, like a true lowlife, had left before he was born. They were still mad at his mom for marrying him. Frankly, Sean didn’t think much of his father either but he was careful not to mention that to his mom. She still loved him. But his grandparents still overdid it, so he was always glad to be away from them.
At the moment, Sean was in a car, staring out of the window at the coast as his mom drove them to their beach house where they usually spent most of their summer. Sean loved the sea and his mother did as well. It was if they both shared some connection to the waves and the fresh salt air. Sean leaned forward and rested his chin on the edge of the window of the car.
“Sean put your head back in,” said his mother, hardly taking her eyes from the road, “You’re not a dog. Although God knows with that hair, someone might mistake you for one.”
Sean grinned and leaned back into his seat, shaking his shaggy brown hair out of his eyes.
“I’ll get it cut tomorrow,” he promised. “It’ll give me time to get reacquainted with Guzzy.”
Guzzy was the beach barber, who was notorious for his ability to cut hair perfectly even while completely drunk. He had once cut Sean’s hair while swaying on his feet. Sean had been suitably impressed and the two had become fast friends much to his mother’s disapproval and equal amusement.
“Humph!” said his mother in return. “One day that man is going to kill you. And don’t think I’ll be burying you. I won’t. I’m not going to bury any child who dies of stupidity. I’ll leave your body to the sea.”
“Great,” said Sean,” I’d rather be eaten by fishes, than by worms. Worms freak me out.”
“If the way you reacted when you had to dissect the earthworm in Biology class, is any indication, I’d say that is an understatement.”
Sean groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “You’ll never let that die, will you?”
“Die?” said his mother, “Of course not.”
“I can’t believe they filmed it,” said Sean, his face still in his hands. “I can’t believe they showed it to you. The bastards!”
“Sean is that any way to refer to your friends?” his mother asked mildly.
“Yes!” said Sean viciously. “They filmed me and showed it to my mother!”
“What best person to show it to?” asked his mom, “I like your friends,” she added.
“Why the sudden change of heart?” asked Sean lifting his head to look at her, “Aren’t those the same friends you quarreled about for the entire term?”
“Fine,” said his mother, “I like them when they don’t disturb your studies. And when they bring funny videos,” she amended.
“Ahh, the conditional love of a mother for her son’s friends,” said Sean.
His mother nodded sagely. “Learn it well,” she told him, “You’ll need it for your own kids.”
“Mom!” protested Sean, “I’m only sixteen. Isn’t it a little too early to be talking about my future kids?”
“With the way kids are going these days, it isn’t,” remarked his mom. “However young man, if you do, do something like that, you know what you will be getting.”
Sean repeated painfully, “My manhood will be cut off and pounded up in front my eyes and then put into soup which I will be made to eat.”
“Good!” said his mother pleased, “I was afraid you might have forgotten.”
“Mother,” said Sean seriously,” I don’t think any guy could actually forget a threat like that. Let alone even try to test it. Especially with you, the Ever Great and Powerful Mother, Whose Wrath We All Fear. And whose lack of cookies we fear too.”
“Is that what they call me?” asked his mother laughing.
“My friends do,” said Sean, “And they really like your cookies.”
“I know about the cookies,” said his mother, “but where did the title come from?”
“I think it was from the time you threw Nick through the window from mouthing off. They were impressed. I was too.”
“Well, he couldn’t just come into my house and start talking any way he wants to. Besides, he is very polite now.”
“He’s actually polite everywhere now,” said Sean dryly, “He said you never know who can throw you through a window, so he was going to be careful.”
“He didn’t fall far,” protested his mom, “We were on the ground floor and he landed on grass outside.”
“I think it was the fact that his friend’s mother actually tossed him, a well-muscled teenage boy, through a window, without appearing to break a sweat.”
“Hmm,” said his mother thoughtfully, “I guess so.”
Sean shook his head and turned to look back out the window. They were almost there. In a few more minutes, his mom was turning into the gate and pulling up the drive to their beach house. The house was a small two-story house, made of concrete, to withstand the harsh coastal conditions, but the porch was made of well-worn wood. It faced the beach and was located some ways away from the road itself and was hidden from view of the road by several palm and coconut trees. In front of the house, on the beach's side, there were no trees to obstruct the view of the sea. Away, further down to his left was one of the major bathing spots, where most of the teens that came to the ocean during summer break, hung out. It was a wide stretch of beach with eating places on the other side of the road and a high cliff which began the beach, with rocks at the foot of the cliff and several pools formed from the rocks, which many of the youths, Sean included, liked to bathe in. Down to the right of the house were more summer residences, but their neighbors were few and far between and hidden, mostly, by palm and coconut trees.
Sean and his mother went inside the house and Sean whistled when he saw the amount of dust and sand that had accumulated in their absence.
“Whoo,” said his mom, waving a hand in front of her face, “I think it’s worse than last time”. Sean grunted in reply.
“Get the brooms,” said his mother, and together, they began their yearly routine of making the house livable again.
It was late evening when they finished their rather eventful cleaning of the house. Sean and his mother, streaked with dust and cobweb and covered with light particles of sand, were sitting in the porch chairs, sipping cold, orange juice and staring at the always spectacular, ocean sunsets.
“Ahh,” sighed his mother. “I missed this. I needed a break.”
“Me too,” said Sean, crunching an ice cube between his teeth. His mother chuckled.
“Nothing like summer huh, kiddo?”
“Nah,” said Sean dreamily, “Nothing.”
His mother glanced sidelong at him and he did the same to her and then they both burst out laughing and Sean knew that summer break had truly started. He grinned at his mother.
“So,” he said, “what crazy things are we going to do this year?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she replied, “I’ve always wanted to zip line. Do you know anywhere we could?”
“Hmmm,” Sean thought about it. “I think I heard Markus say something about that. I’ll ask him.”
“Please do,” said his mom, “I think it’ll be fun.”
Sean laughed. “You thought jet skiing was fun too. Only you didn’t fall off your jet ski and I did.”
His mom laughed happily and Sean felt all warm and glow-y inside. His mom was always a cheerful person but at home, with his grandparents and all, she was never as free and as happy as this. It was only when they were here, just the two of them, by the sea, did she really, really laugh. Sean always loved to hear it.
“Well, please dear, try not to fall off the zipline,” she told him.
“I will do my utmost best,” Sean told her, “but I can’t make any promises.”
She smiled fondly at him and downed the rest of her orange juice.
“Come on, baby boy,” she told him, “Let’s hit the water before the sun goes completely.”
Sean nodded, downed the rest of his juice in an almost choking swallow, and together they ran down to the ocean and plunged in, clothes and all.
“Whooo!!!!” yelled Sean, as he erupted from the waves with his hands held up triumphantly. “Summer is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
His mother standing not too far away from him laughed.
“Come on mom,” he said as he staggered through the water towards her, hand held out, “say it with me.”
She laughed some more and shook her head at his antics.
“No, really!” he told her. She looked at him, saw he was serious and sighed and took his hand.
“Alright, on three,” he told her. “One, two…three!”
“Whoooo! Summer is here!!!!!!!!” they both yelled out and then they erupted into laughter.
“I can’t believe you made me do that!” said his mother between gasps of laughter. Sean simply laughed and they continued to frolic like half-mad children in the water, drunk on their freedom and their happiness.