Waking Up

Summer Postcards

MENTON, France—We were on our way back from Monaco for the last time. When we got into a taxi at dawn, we were still full of laughter. But the sunlight was ominous. “Wake up!” It said. “You’ve been dreaming!”

The sky glowed with haze. The sun was so strict in its movement, it made me nervous. “It’s time to go!” There was no doubt that it was saying, “It’s all over!”

We left the taxi on a road lined with palm trees. My friends and I walked back home in the direction of the Italian border. The railing along the pathway was glistening with dark wet paint. We used to fly down those railings, but now the sign said, “Don’t touch.”

My bags had been packed since the night before, and when I reached the room, I dozed off. I still had to walk to the station to catch my early morning train.

When I woke up, I walked straight onto the balcony. This time, there was nothing very particular about the view of the ocean.

This was not like the time the ocean turned a deep navy blue, making the beachside villas blush an even darker pink.

Nor was the ocean just the right color to blend with the sky.

It was not glittering like it did when it turned into an impassive sheet at dusk.

It wasn’t sparkling from weekend fireworks or glowing with the reflection of the colorful old town.

This ocean was a fuzzy blue, with a few whitecaps. Some of the clouds looked like they could have been boats, far out to sea. I kept looking for something that would make this last scene memorable, but I turned away frustrated.

I left the villa through jasmine-scented breeze. It was morning, and the villa was waking up. Soon I was sitting on a train waiting to head north.

As the hibiscus flowers fell open and the stones dried, the train doors closed and my eyes fell shut. The sun was wrong. I hadn’t been dreaming after all. But now it was time to fall asleep.

Julia E. Kete ’13, a magazine writer, is a History and Literature concentrator in Currier House.

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