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DALL·E 2023-12-17 22.38.47 - young woman in bathing suit walking slowly into the cold ocean in British Columbia.png
DALL·E 2023-12-17 19.57.10 - old woman swimming in the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver BC.png

East Vs. West

Kathleen embraced her mother and welcomed her to Surrey, British Columbia. “They call it the city of trees. Vancouver residents dismiss Surrey as ‘the poor cousin.’ I personally am thrilled that we live so close to the ocean.”

            “I like the parks,” said Ben, her husband. “I love being able to bring Chappie to Blackie Spit Park. It’s a dog-friendly beach. He’s free to run along the shore or wade into the water with his ball.”


            Kathleen adored their Labradoodle and enjoyed watching him frolic in the ocean. But at this moment in time, she wanted her mother to have the best possible beach experience. “Let’s go to Crescent Beach today. It’s only fifteen minutes from here. I don’t think Mom wants to be licked by a bunch of dogs trying to get her to play with them.”


            Her mother smiled in agreement. “When I was growing up in Glace Bay, Dominion Beach was just a hop, skip and jump away. We’d shuck oysters after school, slurping them from their shells, trying to keep the juices from running down our school tunics. On weekends, we’d light bonfires on the beach. The water was chilly but I wouldn’t trade Nova Scotia for the world. Of course, I know the Pacific Ocean won’t be anywhere as nice as where I swam in the Atlantic Ocean.”


            Kathleen smiled, amused that her mother’s competitiveness spanned two oceans and the east and west coasts of Canada.


            She and her mother walked toward the shore. Her mother whipped off her shorts and top to reveal her bathing suit. She made a beeline for the water. She plunged in without hesitation, emerging some fifteen yards from shore and beckoning her daughter to join her.


            Despite her mother’s presence, Kathleen approached the water as she always did. Insert the big toe, then the whole foot. Then an ankle. Wait. Walk in the shallow water until acclimated to the cold. Allow the water to lap around her knees.


            Kathleen leans forward in a crouch, hands placed on the fronts of her thighs as if she’s just completed a race. She takes another step. The water now whirls around the tops of her legs. She dangles her fingers into the water and her hands recoil. “It’s so cold,” she gasps.


            “Don’t be such a wuss,” yells her mother. “It’s at least sixty-five degrees!”


             A moment later, Kathleen is waist deep in the water and gritting her teeth. She stands on her tippytoes and holds her breath, raising her arms to delay the moment when her heavy breasts will get wet. She dives under once the water has enveloped her shoulders. She swims out to her mother.


            “What took you so long? Now, I’m ready to head in,” responds her mother.

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