The two- and a half-hour drive to the beach is one I relish. Just me in my jeep, windows down, tunes up, singing along at the top of my lungs. My friends will never understand why I prefer to make the drive alone. It's a great time to think, and relax, and not worry about making conversation, or arguing over the music (driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole).
"I got everything you want or need, your darkest fear, your fondest dream," I sing along to Steve Earle blaring from the speakers, drumming my hands on the steering wheel. I really should make this drive more often, I always feel more myself after some time spent by the ocean.
I notice the signs starting to pop up alerting me that I'm nearing my destination. I splurged on a cottage this time, splitting the cost with two of my friends. I'll be the first to arrive, and luckily will have three days alone before they get their asses in gear to meet me (I love my friends, but everyone needs time to themselves). I pull off the highway to wind my way through local streets towards the house. I think I'll drop off my stuff then make a run to the shop for some groceries.
Finally all unpacked, with enough food stuffs to last me a week (which will most likely only be 4 days, since my friends will eat everything when they get here), I grab a beer out of the fridge and walk down the path to the beach. It's not yet the weekend, and getting a bit chilly with the sun going down, so I'm alone on my little stretch of sand. I take off my flip flops and, shoving them in my back pocket, walk down to the water's edge and squish my toes into the cool sand. Taking a deep breath, I stare out into the water, feeling ridiculously lucky to be able to afford the time and money to come here for 16 full days.
I'm awoken at 9 AM by the sound of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir - who the fuck is calling me this early? "I am on vacation," I growl into the phone.
"Well, hello to you too, darlin'," the too-cheerful sounding voice of my best friend, Ty, says over the line. "Just givin' you a heads up, I'll be headin' your way tonight. I'll prob'bly be there late, so don't wait up," he continues.
"What? I thought you guys weren't coming for a couple more days?" I really was looking forward to some me time.
"Yeah, well, I got off a day early, and I miss your face. Em's still stuck, so she'll be comin' down as planned," he says. I can't help the smile that comes to my face - I haven't seen Ty in weeks, and I missed him, too.
"Ugh, you're ruining my plans, Tyler," I try to sound angry. It really doesn't work.
"You can read and be a lazy ass some other time, you know you can't wait to see me! I'll see you soon, sweetheart," Ty rushes out and hangs up before I can even get out a 'bye.' The little shit always has to have the last word.
Well, since I'm awake, might as well get out of bed... Sort of. I make my way to the kitchen, grab a package of strawberry pop tarts and a bottle of orange-flavored beverage drink (sounds delicious, yeah?), and go back to my room and curl up under the covers to read.
Two hours later, after nearly smacking myself in the face with my Kindle four times drifting off while reading, I finally crawl out of bed. Seeing as I am at the beach, I figure a little sun and sand and people watching is a better idea than sleeping the day away. I change out of my pj's into my favorite red-striped swimsuit, and toss on a pair of denim shorts and a tank over it. I grab my camera bag and pull out my Fujifilm X100 to take with me - it's subtler than my big Canon dSLR and I don't want to seem like a crazy peeping tom, snapping photos of strangers so obviously.