Its five in the morning, and I reach out, clawing my arm clock, urging to turn it off. I roll my body over, only to be bothered again, by my mother.
“ Sophia, why are you still sleeping?”
“Its five o clock, and its Saturday. Why are you even waking me up?”
“ Get up and get dressed, we have to go. Its earth day-don’t you remember?”
“Ugh, why do you always have to make me celebrate these dumb holidays with you?”
“Its important to me. My mother used to do the same”
“Whatever, can I sleep?”
My mom rolls her eyes at me, and walks out of the door. I know she’s going to drag me somewhere I have no interest in going. I push the covers off my body, and walk into the bathroom. My black hair is in tangles in the front, and there are bags under my eyes. My mom walks into the bathroom, placing her petite hands on my shoulders. I can’t help but look into the mirror, and realize how alike we look. Her dark brown hair falls right over her shoulders, and frames her tawny face. Her green eyes make all of her small features more prominent.
“I know you hate participating in all these monthly holidays. You may think this one is especially stupid, but I swear you’ll get something out of it. We are gonna give back today. After all, I think it'll be better that you’ll be outside, instead of just being on your phone.”
I sigh, and lean into the sink, cupping cold water in my hands, and splash it onto my face. I see no purpose in being up this early, nor going to a stupid Earth Day event.
“It’ll be nice! We can spend time together and you can get some sun. You’re face is getting pale.”
“I don’t even wanna go.”
“Ill stop when I die.”
I roll my eyes, and rake the brush through my knotted hair. I want to close them again. I drag my feet as I walk down the hall back to my room. I pull together a decent outfit, making sure its compatible with the hot weather. I put a pair of shorts on, with a light top. I slump back in my bed again, and close my eyes, hoping to get extra sleep in.
“Im waiting for you, lets go.”
“Ugh mom, please can I stay home?”
“No. Anyway, you’ll get community service hours.”
“I’d still rather stay at home.This is purposeless.”
“ Grab your stuff.”
“You are the most stubborn, annoying human on earth.”
Walking out the door, the Miami humidity already sinks on me, and I know its already going to be a bad hair day.
I climb into my mothers car, and lean back into the cushioned seats.“ I want you to appreciate your surroundings today. Just take in everything, stay awake.. That’s why I woke you up so early today. You are gonna watch the sunrise with me. Then we are gonna volunteer to help with cleaning litter off the beach.”
“Ughhhhh, I reply, I am on the brink of falling asleep.
“Just open up today. I think you’ll realize a lot that you never did”
“What is there to realize?”
“Can you sped five minutes without giving attitude?”
I sit quietly, watching the sky turning from a deep blue to a light grey. My mother pulls her car over, close to the shore of the beach. I spot a few people in the distance, sitting on the sand together. She opens the door to her side of the car.
I get out of the car, my mother walks in front of me. She sways in front of me, her white sundress flowing in the breeze. She sets us up on the sand. The sand is already getting into my shoes and I'm getting annoyed.
“The sun should start to rise within seven minutes.”
“I don’t care, if you didn’t realize.”
She ignores my comments, then faces forward, accommodating herself on the blanket. My attitude about being here hasn’t changed. The wind strokes my shoulders, and intertwines fingers with my hair, making it fly everywhere, and into my face. The horizon is beginning to be brushed with traces of orange. A tip of yellow exposes itself at the horizon. The sky is blushing with color, and everything is quiet. I cast my eyes onto the flat water that gently caresses the shore. I’m thankful my mother isn’t talking. I hear the rustling of the palms in back of me, and the gentle waves.
“Its nice, isn’t it?”
“Its important to enjoy things like this so we can take our minds off the bigger issues we all have.”
There is a shared silence that lingers between us, and I am annoyed. I still want to go home. I try to accept that I have to stay here, and look around. The clouds that halo the horizon are stained lilac, and they stay, stuck where they are. My surroundings seem to be a fixed picture, nothing around me is moving, and I feel a sense of nostalgia. I reminisce upon all the times my mind has been as empty as it is now, and I amstill confused as why my mother dragged me out here. We could have gone to the beach any other day. Even though Id rather be doing other things, my stress is torn from me, and relaxation takes its place.
The sun has almost fully risen, and my mom explains that we have to move in to our second Earth day activity, soon. I sit for another ten minutes of the sunrise, until its fully up. She motions for me to get up, and I shake all the sand off the blanket. We hop in the car again, and she drives us a little farther down the beach. I see slight pollution along the road, and I mention it to my mother. She nods her head.
“This is just what we came for.”
“Were gonna pick this up?” I say in an unhappy tone.
“I told you we were giving back.”
“Uh, so you drag me to watch the sunrise, and now to pick up trash.”
I honestly am not in the mood to clean the beach, I had been very relaxed a few minutes ago, and now i have to go around picking things up. My mom explains how a lot of the pollution enters the water, and that when it does, animals often swallow it, get caught in it, and many die. Months before, we had gone to see a release of baby sea turtles for ‘National Turtle day’, and she explains that half of the babies don’t survive because of water pollution, and many other factors. I pretend to care about what she's saying, and pick up the trash.
“Oh my god, this is disgusting.”
“Your helping the earth Madeline. You need to care sometimes.”
“Im perfectly fine with not caring.”
One by one, I continue to pick up the countless pieces of trash. I find water bottles, trash bags, and countless food wrappers. I load them into the large black trash bag. I realize how purposeless this was, but I suppose I was helping somehow. Im impatiently waiting for the moment when my mom tells me we can leave.
“Thank you for helping me,” my mother says, with a smile.