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Bob and Cynthia Beasley, my beautiful grandparents. (I could stare at this picture for an hour without getting bored) 

 

SUITCASES BY THE CAR

Your parents put on flip-flops to drive the van from the suburbs to the city to the country to the coast switching back and forth to let each other sleep. You prop up on the arm rest so you can watch the stars and the sunrise and point at cattle on the side of the road. There’s a beach ball blocking the back window but your parents don’t need to see. They drive in the dark and in the rain and even when your brother gives you an Indian sunburn in the back seat. And they threaten to turn this car around but they never will. You know they never will. There are too many shells to gather and gulls to spot. Grains of sand to feel between your fingers. Restaurants to debate. And you end up ordering coconut shrimp even though it’s too sweet because your mom ordered it first and she eats it with her hands. And when you walk barefoot to the ice machines at the motel next to the sand dunes you feel like a family of explorers. And for just a second on your towel by the surf you think you’ll never go home and you’re happier than the cumulonimbus clouds that cling to the sky like Cool Whip. But you only packed enough underwear for the weekend.