Summer always had a sense of temporariness. It floated above you for months, but then evaporated with the mist, like as if nothing had been there to begin with.
I looked down, as I always did, at the footprints that I was leaving behind with every footstep that I took on the wet sand. The warm sea water hit my feet with a rhythm all of its own and the scent of salt washed over me. I became dizzy with the satisfaction of knowing that this summer would be amazing. My friends were all back in town from their schools and I had a lot of planning up my sleeve.
Up ahead Aqua, my golden retriever, pawed at what only he could sense in the sand. The name fit him because of his fascination with the ocean and the fact that I had found him, abandoned as a puppy, on the shore by my house. I ran up to him and he barely acknowledged me. I smiled down at him and sat on the dry sand a foot away. My legs were all ready tanned from the Spring and my red shorts defined the dark black hair on my legs. I looked up at the cloudless sky and blinked as the sunlight burned down on me.
"Okay buddy," I said low and smoothly to Aqua, "why don't we just relax for a bit?"
My name's Alejandro Rodriguez Gomez, but my friends call me Alex just because Cuban names can be a hassle. I'm nineteen and I graduated high school last year. I was meant to go study something like chemistry last September but had changed my mind, instead I had decided to stay and help my parents out with the small family restaurant. I look a lot like my mom, but sometimes people tell my dad that I look like him when they want to suck up.
I had a girlfriend. But things happen.
"Come here Aqua," I gently ordered. "You're getting all dirty."
Pueblo, the town I live in, sits quietly off to the side near Miami, Florida. The large, expensive beach houses makes us well known on the shores of Miami, but other than that we don't have much to offer. The beaches shine like tiny emeralds caught in the sunlight almost all year round, but like the rest of Florida, we weren't lucky enough to avoid Winter and its deathly chills.
My dog came over to me finally and nuzzled my leg before resting his head on it. I petted his head and caught a glimpse of my calloused fingers from moving stuff around in the restaurant's storage.
I sat there for another hour, just watching the sky slowly change from a sapphire blue to a ruby red as the sun set. A plane flew overhead, the sound dimmed by the cries of the seagulls. It was heading towards the Miami International Airport, I knew this because of the tourist season. I stood up and patted Aqua twice on the back.
"You ready?" One loud bark was my answer. "All right."
We started walking back, retracing our footprints as I wiped the sand off of my shorts.