The Abandoned Beach House

by Jenny Cleveland
(Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

I needed a break. Last semester, I took a full load of classes, and barely maintained my Honor Roll status while holding down two part-time jobs on campus. The dorms were about to close for the Summer. I was a free man! I was going to take my 21 years of life experience and do something different. But what?

I spent the next day pondering the meaning of Summer, while I began to pack up my belongings and clean out my dorm room. "Where are we going when this place closes?" I asked Tuscany, my 6.5 pound Maltese. Tuscany just jumped up and spun around in a circle, as if this provided me with clarity. I decided we needed to get out to clear our minds.

Riding my bike away from campus, I decided to turn onto Laguna Drive and take a walk on the beach. I carried Tuscany in a baby carrier that I wrapped around my shoulder. Maybe it wasn't the most manly look, but we sure were chick magnets! It was a nice day - not too hot, and not a cloud in the sky. As I dismounted my bike and started to walk along the shore, I saw a couple students I recognized playing Frisbee near the water's edge. I smiled and waived, and Tuscany saluted them with s small bark.

We walked along the water's edge for about an hour. Occasionally, I put Tuscany down on the cool sand to run in circles, and bark at the occasional snow crab that would pop up under our feet.

As we approached a wooden area, Tuscany began to bark, looking in the direction of a small clearing. "What do you think is over there, Tusc?" I asked. My little dog looked at me as if to say, "How should I know? You're the human. You figure it out." We decided to check it out. The path got narrower and narrower, and the brush thicker, as we walked. Suddenly, Tuscany sat down on his hind legs, a sure sign that we had arrived. In front of us was a small, 1920's style beach house, with a large front porch. It showed it's age and exposure to the salt air, but it had a homey feel. Tuscany looked at me with the "What are we waiting for?" expression he would get when he was overdue for a walk.

"Is anyone here?" I yelled as we climbed the steps to the front porch. No answer. I was vaguely familiar with trespassing laws, thanks to the business law class I had just slept through. A sign caught my eye. It said, "You're not trespassing, and I'm not really an abandoned house. My owners are in Spain for the Summer. Make yourself at home." With the money I had saved from my campus job, some sunscreen, and maybe a crab boil here and there, I suddenly knew how Tuscany and I would be spending our Summer.

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