One Minute

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Author: Alexandra Buendia

In the summer of 2012, my mother Perla and I along with my dog Bora, went on a trip to Daytona, Florida. Perla is a short Hispanic woman, with a flair of drama Bora is my brindle and white colored, English Bullterrier, who was as excited as I, to get away. The flight itself was filled with screaming children, peanut smelling, over processed bacteria filled air; nevertheless with zero turbulence.

My excitement was quickly rising; the closer we got to Florida. The vast ocean could be seen out my side plane window, as I could start seeing the Atlantic ocean expanding in my view. Daytona has white, sandy beaches, with a dark blue tinted ocean. The Atlantic Ocean is colder and darker, than the white, crystal, clear, waters of the Gulf of Mexico: but on a hot, scorching day, the cool water was a balm on your skin.

Like many tourist, the majority of our time, was spent on the beach. My favorite thing to do at the beach was to sink my feet into the ocean, and squeeze the sand in between my toes; as I’d close my eyes, and hear the waves crashing and the birds cawing around me. I wanted to infinitely remember the sound of the waves crashing along the shoreline. I knew the moment wasn’t forever, but feeling the warm sun on my skin, smelling the fresh, salt scented, breeze on my face, with waves sprinkling salt water on my body; I was in heaven. It’s the simplest yet time stopping moments of life that ground me.  As the day passed, and I sat on the beach, I looked at the multi- colored sunset, over the seemingly, never-ending ocean.

Daytona beach is still to this day, one of the few beaches, where you are allowed to drive on. Granted you cant drive, like it’s the Daytona 500; but come morning, there are always a few cars driving in. Common sense would dictate to park away from the water, in case of rising tide. However, there was this one incident, where a Tundra, almost fell victim to the gorgeous, but deadly ocean. All thanks to the owner, and his blissful ignorance. The owner of the truck parked, near the lapping water, and slowly but surely, the truck began to sink into the sand. Luckily for Mr. Stranger, one of the beach residents was able to pull him, and the victimized truck, out of the water. I still remember the desperation on the strangers face, as the water level rose as high, as the seats of his truck. He began taking in water, from the undeterred ocean, that wanted to claim the truck forever.

I spent my summer walking the beach, picking up seashells, swimming, and taking midnight strolls. However those rare times I felt athletic, I would go for a run on the beach; “Now keep in mind running on a beach, feels 10 times harder than on a treadmill”. Also note to self, running barefoot on the beach, is non intelligent. The soles of my feet were raw and cut in tiny, little places, that burned each time I touched salty water.

As midnight struck, my mother and I, would walk Bora on the moonlight lit beach. The day was no longer sweltering, but carried a cool gentle breeze, with the summer’s night. The night held no darkness, as the moonlight reflected itself on the black, wavering water, casting light even on the darkest of shadows.

Another Kodak moment, was watching my dog chase the roadrunners into the blackened waves. Bora’s running was ceaseless, going from one end to the other. However she knew, if she could no longer see us, it was time for her to turn back. Peacefulness is a rare felt emotion in a metropolitan city, but there on that starry night, looking up at the moon and the bright stars, was a little piece of heaven on earth.

The next day as I walked inwards the ocean, I looked down at the water, to see my feet on the sand, along with the fish and seashells.  However as I moved outwards, the darker the water became and the less visibility I had. The waves would push me and try to smother me, as I maneuvered beneath them, towards deeper water. I was swimming with a group of friends I had acquainted.  We would usually swim, walk on the beach and or go hang out at the hotel. That had day we had decided to meet up at our favorite spot on the beach.

We had probably been swimming for hours, coming in and out of the ocean; when suddenly, somebody cried “shark!, my first thought, was a kid crying wolf.  I look towards the beach, as the waves lapped around my friends and I, and I suddenly see my mom, standing near the shore; waving at me to come ashore. I see the faces of the people around me, and everyone’s confused.

I decide to start swimming towards the shore, since I can now hear my mom yelling at me. Granted I didn’t see anything, but deciding to be safe than sorry.  As I was swimming to shore, my spidey sense told me to turn to my right, and that’s when I saw it. A dolphin had emerged from the water, perpendicular to me. I can definitely tell you, that each horror shark movie had come up in my mind in that very moment; as I saw the grey, colored creature jump up.  At first glance, I thought it had been a shark. I had never swum so fast in my life, to get ashore. It was later said, that there had been a shark nearby. However the presence of that dolphin, repelled the shark.

In one moment everything can change. A day you were dreading to come, can turn into the best day of your life; a treasured memory you never expected. That day I was thankful I saw a dolphin, instead of a shark. I’m thankful I’m here, today. There are incidents where we forget, the protection that was given to us at a moment of need.

We get so caught up with bills, worries, getting ahead, that we don’t value the present. We get caught up in the world of social media, and we focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we have. The past is the past, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do, to change any part of it. The present is a gift that we can either embrace, or deny; but the future is coming. The future will always become the present, whether we are on this Earth or not.  My shark scare was, but maybe a minute long. However when I think about all the awful things that happen in one minute, I’m forever thankful, it wasn’t my minute.

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