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Time and Tide Wait for No Man

Well, here I am, back again. As the tides ebb and flow, so does my arrival on Cape Cod. And with the same ease as the water lapping the sand, so is it I slip into my “old” life. Not that it’s hard to adapt to the rhythm of Cape Cod, or, for that matter, summer itself – boat shoes without socks; skin hinting of Coppertone, and standing on line at Par-Tee Freeze for a vanilla/chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles.

It is there, waiting for ice cream, my past catches up with me. Old family friends are ahead of me and we exchange hugs. I call the oldest son by the middle son’s name. It’s been years, decades actually, since I’ve seen him. He’s now a man and towers over me, his daughter in his arms. The last time I saw him he was 14. I was not much older.

I get to the window to place my order and there’s my high school friend and college roommate, whizzing by to fill an order. Stacey

’s been running the family business for years. Each time I see her – which is about once or twice a year when I stop by for a cone – my face brightens. The flashbacks are instantaneous. I’m reminded of the hours we spent folding sweaters to procrastinate from studying Calculus or walking back from the dining commons, giggling, a box of cereal hidden under our sweatshirts. Forget that it’s been twenty years since college. That time, all those years, is, for the moment, erased.

Later my phone rings. It’s my best friend from middle school. Leslie and I haven’t spoken in years. Her voice is the same. Her humor is the same. Her memories are the same, too. And it feels like us again, Frick and Frack. As we catch up, her two, tween boys want her attention. They are the exact age as Leslie and I when we were inseparable. “Give me a moment to talk with my friend,” she says to them. “Then I will play with you.” Even though she sounds like an adult, deep down I recognize that 11-year-old girl I knew so well.

I’ve always attributed my being organized to saving time. My mom thought it was because I felt then everyone would be safe. Now I wonder if I may be trying to hold on to something.

Last night there was a lump in my bed; a familiar site. My “baby” sister, who’s to be 30 this month, is sound asleep. Sure the lump has grown from when Meredith was a toddler bounding into my room to cuddle, but her presence is still comforting. Although our lives have changed and time has passed, it’s nice to see that some things stay the same.

Happy 4th of July!

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