They call me Zuz. Susie, Ellie, Jay and I are summer friends. Warmed by the dead heat of Julya precious thirty-one days for uswe trample soft fern and tread green mounds of moss, trailblazing a fresh path through the woods morning after morning to the beach. After a swim, dragging multicolored towels in the sand, we comb the beach for washed up treasures: a piece of sea glass, its edges smoothed by the constant churning of the sea, a polished periwinkle, a lobster claw, a crab shell, an old buoy, and a group of gray, somber looking rocks. "We are spelunkers, examining stalagmites today," Susie tells me, concentrating on the rock formation at her feet. A hand tugs on my shirt from behind. It's Jay, plastered in sand.
"Zuz, I'm hungry."
And then they all speak at once.
"Zuz, look at this one!"
"Zuz, where's my shovel?"
"Zuz, Jay tracked sand all over my towel!"
I shake out the towel and satisfy them with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, goldfish, and apple juice. Jay chews thoughtfully before announcing his plan for the afternoon.
Sarah Adair Frank