Florida Sunset

Beached

Beached. Like a whale. Blistering and stinking in the sweltering Florida summer sun …

Here’s a little piece of advice: when you’re in Florida, especially on Sanibel “Shell Island” in Florida, wear your damn sandals in the water.

There we were, playing Splat Ball in the bath-water-warm Gulf, inching further and further out to the horizon line with every toss, catch, or — in my case — belly-flop miss. It was our first day of twelve on the island and we were stoked to be back on the coast, despite the haggaring red-eye flight we were still zombied out from (yes, we cheated on vanlife and flew; Nico was totally cool with it).

And then, jumping up for one last catch, feet leaving the sandbar where I’d been tickling sand dollars with my bare toes, I came down HARD on something so piercingly sharp I had to gasp for my next two breaths. I started pushing away the oncoming waves, barreling towards shore.

Sanibel Island is white with shells and sand layered and layered together, almost smooth. But as I hobble-hopped from the water to the Bumpas family tent, bright red splotches of blood clumped in the sand and broken shells and left a glaring, textured path.

I appeared to have landed directly on a shell. We think it was a Pen Shell, though I didn’t go back to look. It put an incredibly inconvenient, rather large hole right in the ball of my foot.

Mermaid dreams over. No more water for me until it closed. I’d been beached.

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