The Taste of Summer

By Anna Wilton

Here I am, sitting alone on the floor, gradually moving across the small space to follow my fan, as it shoots its breeze across the dark room. I had turned off the lights because for some reason I felt that was going to make me that little bit cooler. All year I had waited for this moment. Summer was the reason I had made it through those freezing cold winter months. It was the reason I had endured those endless family skiing holidays, where I spent most of the time on my bum in the wet snow.  All the memories of the beach, the sun, the sand and the surf were the things that I truly adored. I hated the cold and summer seemed to be my saving grace, but I had failed to remember the intense heat that came along with those fabulous memories. Never in my life had I felt so hot, but as I looked back at my memories of past summers, I suddenly remembered the scorching days, the sun beating down. I recall wishing that summer would end and that winter would come and cool me down.

It seemed to me that no matter what season I was in I was wishing I was somewhere else. Summer was too hot, autumn was too blah, winter made me freeze and spring gave me hay fever. I could never win.

But it was summer now and instead of sulking, I wanted to make the best of the season while it was still here. I was already in my beach clothes as I was intending to go for a morning swim, but instead was overwhelmed by the searing sun and retreated inside. Yet, I didn’t want to waste this day.

I came out of my room and saw my family, in front of the TV watching the tennis. The fan was on and they were looking drained of all energy. I was not going to let us all sit here whilst summer wasted away. I grabbed the phone and called my cousins, who were next door and seemed to be in the same mood as my family, and managed to coax them out of the house. I rallied my own family and grabbed the sunscreen. We were going to have a real beach day, just like the ones from the stories, and we were having it now.

After about 20 minutes at the beach I realised the whole ‘Beach Day’ idea wasn’t my best, I’ll admit. The sun was not giving in and my arm was getting tired of slapping sunscreen onto my scorching skin. The surf was rough and we all felt miserable. I was getting ready to pack it in, to tell everyone that yes, I had been wrong. That’s when I heard it; the beautiful, cheerful music drifting in the breeze toward our sandy towels. That sound was connected to the only way to save this day. I raced up the dunes, money clenched in my hands. My feet were burning against the blistering hot sand, but I didn’t care. I had to get to the top of the hill in time.

As I ran onto the nearly deserted road, I was greeted by the smile of an old man looking down from his van window. He greeted me and asked me what I wanted, without his smile fading.  I hastily ordered and he handed over the merchandise. I gave him all the cash I had and told him to keep the change. I ran back down the hill, calling a goodbye over my shoulder.

As I came down the hill I saw my family, clearly getting ready to leave. They looked up and I just stood there, holding my hands up in the air, showing what I had bought, feeling as triumphant as ever. They all let out a cheer and rushed toward me, frantically trying to snatch their favourite flavour from my hands. Icy poles were the one thing that could save a day like today and I it had worked!

Those icy-poles had kept us at the beach until the end of the day. The delicious frozen fruity goodness had changed everyone’s moods. We played beach cricket and threw the footy around all afternoon. As the sun went down we grabbed some fish and chips from across the road and sat down on the sand. We told stories and just talked in a way that I had never heard my family talk before. It was the day that made me realise why I love summer. It isn’t the beach or the sun or the sand, it’s the people that I spend it with.



About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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