Frailty | Teen Ink


November 14, 2008
By Michael Reinhard BRONZE, Farmingdale, Maine
Michael Reinhard BRONZE, Farmingdale, Maine
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The somber waves lapped onto the shore washing away the sand. A small child went to play on the beach. He walked slowly on the small grained sand, he eventually built up his courage, and he started to run. He fell hardly against the sand and was taken up in a wave. The waves felt soothing against his skin as it rubbed against it, a mother nursing her baby: the boy felt comforted. He let out a slow giggle and beamed widely as he brought himself up. He looked out and saw deep blues rushing against each other, he loved the ocean.

He started running again, and in his head he was singing a song, his favorite song. It was the one that he had listened to when he was little, something about god or Jesus, the tune was catchy and it leaked through his mind into reality as a whistle. He smiled, everything was all right.

When he was running, albeit awkwardly, he noticed the colors of the sand: a pale brown, pigmented with white and some black. He came to the entrance of the beach, and he saw in the sand red. It had been brick. Now, it was crushed against the land and was doomed to wilt back into the soil, but it turned and mixed with the sand as the wind and water lapped at it. The kid became scared of the brick and he turned away. He cried for a second, but he tried not to let it bother him, he was a big kid after all. He was five, he could handle anything.

He brought up his speed again and passed the very same objects he had before. He came upon a picnic bench he had missed the last time he had wandered through this area. He sat down and observed the grey table. The table was clearly forlorn, paint chipped and cracks embodied the picnic table, it struck a chord of melancholy in the boy. He imagined the past of the picnic bench. He imagined it was owned by an abusive owner. He shooed these thoughts away, only caring what others might think of him caring about something as useless as a broken down picnic bench. He felt the seat give in under his weight. He received a few scratches, but it was still okay, it would always be okay, he wasn’t a baby.

He started running again until he got bored. He looked out on the water as it gently came gliding in. He smiled softly to himself and he ventured closer to its depths.
He knew he was not supposed to enter the water, so he stayed near enough to become wet, but far enough to remain grounded. After growing tired of standing, he sat down. He started making a sandcastle. After twenty minutes. He constructed an elaborately simple castle with short walls. He had tried his best to remove the brick powder from the sand, but with no luck, the red was encrusted as jewels in the sand castle.

It had been six hours since he had come to the beach. His mother had told him to be home no more than six and a half hours. He knew he had to go home soon, but he could afford to play just a little longer. The red stared at him softly, glaring with what he presumed to be destructive intent. Suddenly, he felt compelled to get rid of the red. He started shaking, scared, he tried his best to stop this fear, but it couldn’t be helped. The red speckles of brick became bigger and bigger, varying in shape and sizes. They appeared to be moving and smiling with large sharp teeth. The pieces of brick started growling as if to attack, and the boy knew not of what to do, not at all, he stayed their helpless, ridden with fear and helplessness.

The boy started to run again, and he escaped from his fears. He fell again on the beach. He rolled around, still feeling helpless, wondering where anybody was. Why is this beach deserted? he thought to himself, and he just kept rolling around, wondering what was happening, and ridden with too much panic, he blacked out.

He awoke soon after, wet. He flailed with shock, he was in the water. He regathered himself quickly and started swimming freely, loving the water and the fact he had disobeyed his mother. Everything was alright. After swimming for a bit, he remembered not a person had been on the beach today, besides him. He instantly wanted someone to talk to, to play with, anyone. He searched around, but his vision had been impaired by a now lifting fog. Compulsively searching for anybody, eventually yielded his eyes a small fishing boat and he started swimming towards it.

Once the boy was near the boat, he saw nobody had been in it, and he was confused. His body turned to go back towards land, having enough of today’s emptiness, and waves started hitting against his back. Like tremors, the waves oscillated slowly and intensified in speed and frequency until large waves were crashing on the back of the boy’s head.

He felt the need to turn around, he was curious. As he did, a huge wave hit him square in the jaw, filling his lungs with water. He writhed with anguish, water in his lungs. His heart quickened, and he started thinking in short increments, one word at a time. Mother. Water. Cat. Life. Death. Brick. And the stacattoness of his breath acquired more water in his lungs and furthered his panic, his flailing. And he started kicking his legs in the water, not knowing what to do. No oxygen in his muscles, he couldn’t move. He didn’t know what to do. He started moaning, but if anyone had been there, they wouldn’t have understood him. He started crying. Maudlin. Baby. Red. Help. He let out gasps of air. And he didn’t know of anything to do and then he saw the boat, the skiff, that he had ventured to. He started directing his thrashing towards the boat. He was a boat taking on water, more and more water flooded into him, torrentially. His vision started becoming clouded with darkness, every color of the ocean lost its saturation, and he thrashed harder and harder to the boat, as he coughed and sputtered even harder than he had before. Darkness encircled in around him as he followed the boat into the dark.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Dec. 24 2013 at 11:57 am
Birdsinger SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I cannot live without books.”
~Thomas Jefferson

I think the title is perfect for this piece. "Frailty" reminds me that nothing can last forever, our existences are limited... and no matter what our age, tragedy could come at any turn. Touching and sad story. You did an excellent job with it.