It’s barely passed four in the afternoon when Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea and I arrive to the beach, and yet, the place is packed with people! Sometimes I forget how big Malibu is, until events like these come around and I realise how many people live in one neighbourhood, all squashed together like this.
Like Chelsea had explained to me, there was a row of snack stalls set up along the beach selling all kinds of food. “Barbie, can you buy me a snack?” Chelsea begs. “I don’t have any money. Please!”
“Oh, of course! What would you like?” I must admit -I can never say no to Chelsea!
Chelsea grins. “Ice cream! A really big ice cream! A pink ice cream! No, wait -a rainbow ice cream!”
“Chelsea, you know it’s almost dinner time. How about something smaller? Do you like pretzels?”
Chelsea shakes her head, so her little blonde curls bob around her face. “No! I want an ice cream.” Judging by her red face, I just know that Chelsea is about to get angry, so I give in. Ice cream it is.
I lead my sisters over to the ice cream stall. Thankfully, the line is short and it only takes us a few minutes to order. I turn to face Stacie and Skipper. “Do you guys want an ice cream as well?”
Of course they do. I can’t help but sigh as I hand over the money. Four ice creams later, and suddenly I realise that I spent twenty-four dollars! What a waste.
The fireworks won’t start until after dark, so we have plenty of time to wander around the beach and look around at the other stalls. Most of them are selling food, but one stall is selling beaded necklaces, and another sells handmade soap! Afternoons like this in Malibu are always my favourite.
I go over to the necklace stall. Perhaps I can buy one necklace for each of my friends? As a friendship present! There are lots of different colours and styles available, it’s difficult to decide.
“There’s so many pretty necklaces here!” I say to the seller. “I want to buy one for each of my friends. What do you recommend?”
The seller picks up a necklace to show me -it’s a green stone tied to some black cord. “This type of necklace is special,” she explains. “It’s green, like an emerald. Emeralds represent everlasting friendship and strength! When you all wear these necklaces, you will always be united.”
That sounds perfect! “Oh, wow! Can a necklace really do all that?”
“But of course!” the seller assures me. “My necklaces are very special. Some people come back to my stall, weeks later, and tell me how their lives have changed because of their purchase!”
I decide to take five of the green necklaces -one for Aimee, one for Neko, one for Kayla, one for Danika, and one for myself. The total comes to fifty dollars, but I tell myself it’s worth it -with these necklaces, our friendship will be saved!
“Now, if your friendship improves after wearing this, make sure to come back and tell me, alright?” the seller says, looking at me right in the eyes.
I nod. “Of course! I’m sure they will. Thankyou!”
I put the necklaces in my purse to give to my friends at school tomorrow. “Barbie, can we go play in the water?” Stacie asks. She’s a little bored of looking at the stalls.
“Not too deep,” I warn. It’s getting late -almost four-thirty now. The sun is starting to set, which means the fireworks will be starting soon. I can’t wait!
Chelsea and Stacie run off to play in the water, while Skipper and I sit on the sand to watch them. “Don’t you want to play with the others?” I ask her.
Skipper makes a face. “No, I’ll get my clothes all wet. Besides -it’s cold! It’s almost dark.”
I laugh. Skipper’s definitely right! You wouldn’t catch me playing in the water at this time of day either!
My phone vibrates in my pocket. It’s Ken, messaging me back from earlier this afternoon.
Yeah, The Angels sounds great! See you then xx
Thank goodness! I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to spend my weekend doing something boring, like watching television by myself, or (God forbid) studying!
“Barbie! Look! They’re setting up the fireworks!” Chelsea and Stacie come running back from the water. “Can you see? Over there!” Chelsea points to the other side of the beach, where a group of people are setting up the equipment.
“Barbie, I’m hungry!” Stacie moans. “Can we have tea here? I don’t want to miss the show.”
I decide to call our mom, to ask if we’re allowed to stay at the beach for dinner. Normally, we all eat together as a family, but it seems like Stacie and Chelsea really want to watch the fireworks. And I must admit -I want to watch them as well!
It doesn’t take long for my mom to answer -she’s always close to her phone, like the tech-savvy businesswoman she is. She agrees, so my sisters and I go off to hunt for something to eat. I have to wonder how much money I’ll be spending in one day! First the ice cream, then the necklaces, and now dinner, too!
As we walk back over to the stalls, I spot a girl with bright red hair far away in the crowd. Hah! I think to myself. That girl is just like Aimee in the school hallways! You can always spot dolls with red hair easily in the crowd.
“Shall we get some pizza?” Chelsea asks, staring at me longingly. Chelsea isn’t a fan of healthy foods. If it was up to her, she’d eat ice cream and pizza every day!
I shake my head. “It was pizza day at school today. I feel like something else -maybe some curry?”
“Yes, let’s get some curry!” agrees Skipper. “I think there’s a stall over there, at the end of the row.”
The four of us head off in search of some curry. As we get closer and closer to the girl with the red hair, I can’t help but wonder if it is Aimee all along! They do look very similar.
Surely not, I think to myself. Aimee said today that she was going to ‘locked up studying all night!’ She wouldn’t come out to an event like this if she had to study!
We finally reach the stall at the end and order our curries. Two small butter chickens, for Stacie and Chelsea, one chicken madras for Skipper and one tikka masala for me. We get our food almost straight away -it’s steaming hot, and served with a portion of rice. It smells delicious; I can’t wait to start eating!
My sisters and I decide to sit on the rocks by the water and eat our dinner. It’s almost time for the fireworks to start!
We eat in silence, scraping our bowls until there is nothing left. It’s nice and peaceful by the sea. Listening to the tide sweep in and out is one of my favourite things in the whole world; one of my favourites memories is when Ken and I went on a holiday to the beach. Almost every night, we would leave the hotel and sit by the water, just listening to the tide.
“Barbie, look!” Chelsea cries, clutching onto my arm. “The fireworks are starting!”
And so they are. A burst of colour explodes against the night sky, and another, and another. Everybody ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ at the lovely sight.
Despite all these good things around me, I can’t help but feel unsettled. Was that really Aimee I saw in the crowd? And if it was, why did she lie to me?
I’m hungry. I feel like curry now. Why do I always have to write about food?