Moving from the cold frozen north of Illinois, I knew as a child I may never have to don a snowsuit again when we found our way to Florida. I had a yellow ten speed which I would ride from our condo to the front gate to catch the schoolbus, and then ride it back again at the end of the school day. I was the last to get on the bus, and the last to get off.
I couldn’t wait to be home each day. My mom and stepdad had rented a gulf front condo with a nice screened back porch, a lanai really. I was a latch-key kid as they called us back in those days. On my arrival home, I would grab a towel and my school books then go sit at our table outside to do my homework. The warm breezes and the glass like surface of the water calmed any childhood angst I had and allowed me to concentrate.
Like clockwork, around 4:15 PM, the rains would roll in. Most times, I was done with my homework at that point. I’d close up my books and stow them away to prevent anything from getting wet. I’d wrap my purple and yellow striped towel around my shoulders and sit there, watching as the rain would roll in from the gulf.
The small islets outside our condo would become blurry as the rain took over and the smooth water would give way to ripples and eventually waves if the winds were strong enough. My towel would protect me from the spray as the rain splashed against the screens.
The rains normally would pass in fifteen to twenty minutes. By then, my short cropped hair would be damp and begin to curl up. I’d wipe off any excess with my towel, then dry off the table and chair. If I had more homework to do, I’d wrap it up. Otherwise, I would sit there, trying to see if there were any dolphins playing in the water and watch the birds fly by until it would get dark when my parents would arrive home.
We only lived on the water like that for six short months. I occasionally find my way there as an adult to reminisce and enjoy the view, grateful for having had the experience.