97 steps from a tiny tattered beach,
Frequented by gnats and 70-somethings,
The Edge of the World, CT
My address has always belonged to the horizon, but sunsets didn’t faze me until my sixteenth summer: the summer we scrawled the bucket-list that scared me.
1. Explore Black Point, by shore. Our neighborhood’s shoreline boasts three tiny beaches, three miles of wobbly rock and a swamp –this item hardly enthralled me. About as adventuresome as a GPS, I sluggishly accompanied her onto the rocks before sunrise. Somewhere between scooching and sloshing, a salty smile found my face and I realized: the undesirable part of Black Point was closest to the ocean. I paused at the irony and shared it with her. As the sun rose on our adventure, we giggled about the secret we uncovered. The truth that I wouldn’t know had I not conquered the rocks.
2. Adventure began to illuminate my eyes, but they widened under risk’s influence. We knew Black Point’s undesirable side: the next list-item involved its most desirable. Crash an Old Black Point party. It was her idea.
Old Black Point is the Gatsby of our beach town. Old-Blackers’ expensive beach- parties span summer: the highlight of their social schedule? Kaboom Day. Each Kaboom day Black-Pointers watch, locked outside the white gates of OBP Beach, as fireworks explode above trees. I’d never seen them reflect into the water.
We disappeared under sunhats and slipped into sundresses. Side-by-side, we walked confidently through the white gates. Seconds later we were sprinting, jumping over vacated Louboutins and dodging wine glasses, towards the OBP dock.
The first firework boomed above us, but I didn’t hear it. I only saw the light, twinkling from the sky until it fizzled on the water’s surface. It was magical; the way the midnight-blue glass enveloped each spark. Being there to watch it blurred my vision into watery-eyed disbelief. It was her idea, but our return next summer would be mine.
3. Drop flowers on doorsteps. I came up with this item –it was the first that didn’t twist my stomach.
We trekked from downtown with two-dozen roses. After an afternoon’s work, I tucked 24 roses, tied to 24 pink-papered messages, into my bike basket.
She hid behind a bush and I tiptoed to door one, rose in hand. After knocking and dropping, I ran to join her. An old woman’s face appeared behind the screen, scowling. She jerked her head from side to side, and started turning when our rose caught her eye. As she handled the stem, she softened. She gazed around again, and then retreated.
Beneath bush-branches, we high-fived. Becoming an adventurer and harnessing risks had felt like noon-time sunlight beating on my heart. But watching that old woman’s transformation was a sunset –I basked in its purpose, marveled at its sureness.
The sun is about to set on my life on the horizon. When it does, I’ll bask in its purpose once again: it’s my time to explore a broader horizon.