I'm taking a fiction workshop at my school this summer. I thought I'd post some of the exercises I'm doing. This is a one-page autobiography based on one event in my life.
The beach in Barcelona is beautiful. The deep blue water stretches out for miles on either side of us. To the left of us, a group of friends gathers on towels. They’re fully clothed, not here to swim but just to enjoy the sun. I’m wearing my bathing suit, but the water is colder than I expected and I can’t stay in it for long before I decide I’d rather lay in the sun with my book. Behind us, a couple plays badminton, both of them shirtless. We thought we’d avoided the nude beach, but even here, women sit around, shirtless, nonchalant.
For what has to be the tenth time, an Arab man passes by, saying, “Agua, cerveza, cold water, cold beer.” He has a rhythm to the words, and we try to avoid his eyes every time he walks by, trying to sell his goods. When we first got here, we declined him, but then Chris bought a beer from another man with a backpack selling drinks, so now he feels guilty. His beer sits open next to me, not in a paper bag like it would be back home.
Chris strums his ukulele, the twangy sound mixing with the crashing waves on the beach only a hundred feet away. His ukulele reminds me of Hawaii and its long, warm days and his visit, that week when I fell even more in love with him. It reminds me of the iPod he got for me when we first started dating and the Beirut songs I listened to as I jogged around the neighborhood, passing freshly manicured lawns and plumeria trees. I love that he picked the instrument up and brought it on our trip to Spain. I love traveling with him, seeing these new places and experiencing them with him. I know that in a couple months, we’ll be reflecting on all we did and saw and we’ll get that bug again to go somewhere. We’ll save up, eating top ramen for a couple months until we can travel to a new place and make more memories.