You'd be surprised what you can see when you look through the right lens.
I kicked up my legs, inevitably sending my striped flip-flops sailing behind me. It was the first day of summer, and my last day at home in the middle of Indiana. Tomorrow, the prairie and corn fields would be long behind me, and in front of me would be the streets of a quaint little town on the East coast. It was called Nasbath Beach, to be exact.
Okay, so Delaware wasn’t exactly the most amazing place to be. But it was better than the dead-end boringness of Carmel, Indiana—not to mention more photogenic, which would be great for me and my Nikon D3000.
Erin. What a boring, generic name.
I guess it fit me. I was pretty generic. I had the same hobbies as any other kid in the midwest: basketball in winter, then softball in summer. I occasionally liked to read. I wore clothes from places like American Eagle. I begged my dad to buy me a pair of Heelys when I was nine. I begged my dad to buy me a Nintendo DS when I was ten. My cell phone provider was Verizon Wireless. Yep, I was a commoner. The only non-genetic thing about me was that I had a DSLR camera. While other kids my age carried around the most tiny, miniscule, compact cameras they could find, I lugged around ol’ Edie (Yes, I named my camera—don’t ask) and took pictures of other subjects than myself and my friends.
I heard my name more clearly this time; and with more frustration. I set down my book (I was currently skimming a Sarah Dessen book—yes, another generic teenage read) and swung my legs over the side of the lawn chair in the backyard, stomping up the porch steps barefoot.
“What?” I asked, pushing aside the patio door and stepping inside, letting a cool blast of air conditioning welcome my face.
My dad sat behind his laptop in the kitchen, wearing a plain white tee and some board shorts (gah! Board shorts? How embarrasing!). “You all set for tomorrow, Er-Bear?”
I winced. Er-Bear was what he had dubbed me when I was two. For what reason, I don’t know. I had always been terrified of the grizzlies at the zoo.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m all packed and everything. My luggage is in my room.”
He smiled. “You excited?”
“You excited to see your mom?”
“Yeah,” I lied.
“Okay. Just making sure.”
“Later.” I walked back outside and frowned. While I had been having a very boring (and generic, might I add) conversation with my dad, clouds had formed and blocked the sun. A sheet of shadows now covered my precious outlet for tanning. I stomped toward the lawn chair, flopped down, and picked up my book.
The truth was, my mom and I were polar opposites. I liked quiet, shy stuff like reading and photography. Even in softball and basketball, I wasn’t the best. I laid low. My talents were moderate, as was my face. I had the regular features: slightly wide, brown eyes, sloped nose, pink lips, curved chin. My hair was naturally wavy, and light brown. My figure was average. I was soft but not fat. My feet were size 8’s and I was 5’5. I was pretty much the face of generic-ism.
My mom? Not so much.
She was loud and brash. She was all over the place. She liked to drink. She liked show-offy things, like shopping and getting her nails done. She had sparkly blue eyes, blonde hair, and Angelina lips. She was tall and thin, and had a heart-shaped face. Last time I checked, she was a hotel clerk at Days Inn. Weeks before she had been a waitress at Bob Evan’s. And a month before that she had been a lifeguard. She didn’t know what she wanted. And she couldn’t help it; she hadn’t lived. She had me when she was only seventeen. She left me with my dad, using college as her alibi. Instead, she moved to Reno and partied herself sick.
I hadn’t seen her in five years. I got Christmas cards and the occasional five dollar bill for my birthday, but that was it. She didn’t bother to update me on her life. All I knew was that she lived in a place called Nasbath Beach, in Delaware. I was a little scared to spend three fourths of my summer there, but I knew how to take care of myself, and decided that it would be better than being stuck in the Midwest for three months.
I reached for my glass of lemonade and sipped. The clouds got darker and the trees swayed, sending a chilly breeze down my bare legs. I got up and darted inside the house seconds before it began to pour. I panted, closing the door behind me. Turning around, I looked outside. The poor lawn chair, alone in the backyard (not counting the small, manmade pond that belonged to my stepmother, Grace), was getting soaked. I sighed, staring up at the clouds. Today was my last day at home, and I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. Why’d you take it away? I asked the dark clouds, as if they could answer.