It all started when I was young. I was introduced to the lifestyle of the well known Hamptons that everyone talked about. My family visited West Hampton beach regularly over the summer. Seeing all the mansions while driving around out here amazed my siblings and I. We were those typical people who entered the annual sandcastle competition and ate ice cream for lunch. But this didn’t satisfy my parents. They wanted more. My parents started to take us to look at condos in the Hampton area after our beach days. And one day we found it. Our Happy Place. I remember the first time I stepped out of the car and smelled the fresh air. The view of the beach right in front of us was breathtaking. We knew this would be the place we would be spending our summers and making the most wonderful memories together. We started to explore our neighboring towns. Walking in Southampton was like nothing I had ever seen before. Seeing designer bags left and right, fancy cars all over and everyone was so well put together. When we got our first beach pass it felt better than an annual pass to Disneyworld. We were so excited to explore the most beautiful beaches. It felt magical. This was nothing like my hometown. It would become my home away from home. It was only the beginning.
My parents decided to get a boat when we bought our condo. They named it after their favorite bar in the British Virgin Islands. The feeling of the boat driving and having the air hit my face made my adrenaline pump. Tubing till sunset, and jumping into the water by Robins Island and Sunset Beach made the days feel endless. My siblings and I played outside on our boat running back and forth from the pool to the bay endlessly, never getting bored. We kayaked all day long. Sometimes we even brought our breakfast across our canal to the “secret island”. It was an endless vacation. But, soon school would come, and we would have to go back to our little town.
Summers went by as I would continuously wake up in my loft, and forget which house I was in. I would smell my mother’s homemade breakfast gravy coming through the air vent from the end of my loft. She would soon walk in and shout “ It’s a beautiful day, everyone get up it’s almost noon”. I would slowly walk downstairs recalling what I watched on Netflix the night before. I could hear her telling my sisters our daily agenda. From having to pack for boat trips, to going on long errand runs, she always had us on our feet running around doing fun stuff. All. Summer. Long. Then school starts to come around again, and the last days of summer slowly slipped away.
The school year felt like it lasted forever. A couple times during the winter we would come back out, but it never felt the same. I always crave the warm beach, and the refreshing punch from Rumba. Soon spring would be rolling around and at last summer when we could pack our bags and return to the Hamptons.
This summer I caught myself saying to my sister “It’s almost as if I live two separate live’s”. I then realized over the years I haven’t seen my friends during the summer as much as I used to. I said to myself “Do I miss my friends? Yes. But I wouldn’t trade being out here for anything in the world.” That day when I took my daily walk to Ponquogue bridge I smelled the fishy air from the seafood market, that always made me gag. In that moment I realized that I could walk outside and I am on a beach or we can drive 2 miles to the ocean and I realized how lucky we are.
As soon as I got home from my walk my mother asked, “ Bella did you start your summer reading?” and I was reminded that the cycle is still going. School would be starting up soon and the cycle of leaving would continue. But in the back of my head I always know that my Happy Place is waiting for my return.