--and opened the door ("hi Betsy, hi Betsy! Down, girl!")--and yelled:
I'M HOME! IT'S DONE!!!!
as loud as your little lungs could manage.
And then there were cookies from Mom, and a quick review of all the papers you had haphazardly shoved in your lime green backpack, and a reminder to call home--
and you were off to the woods again, up Centennial Ave and to the Whale Rocks or the My Side of the Mountain fort that you and Sophie had perfected last week or even, to check on the tadpole clusters that Echo had found in the concrete pond. It was sunny and not too hot, and you could wear a bandanna to keep the sweat out of your salty eyes anyways. And afterward, on special nights, you would find the soft, bleached log that had washed up to Centennial Beach, and Dad would bring the djembes, and you and Spencer would dance in the sand, kicking up the dunes and singing; the dark waves giving their measured, hissing applause while Mom bobbed her head in time, tapping the thick trunk.
Who says childhood is idealized? That's the truth, straight up. I lived a magical life, I think; I still wonder where I can bring my children to have their Island dreams.