Last Summer on the Coast

Last Summer on the Coast

a short story by T.C. Barrera

The year? 2016.

The month? May.

The day? I don’t remember exactly but it was a couple days before graduation. I had been checked out since April, honestly. My grades were good enough so that it didn’t matter how well, or, in this case, unwell I did during final exams. I had been accepted to Wagner College, Sutton’s mid-level university already and was ready to glide my way through the rest of the school year into the summer. I sat daydreaming, waiting for the bell to ring. 

Summer. 

I know everyone says this, but summer in my town was unlike any other. Sutton was a small town in a big place. The Californian coastal town was a community driven place of 20,000. It was too big for a small town, yet way too small for a big town. Sutton sat snugly in between two major tourist beaches. As a result, Sutton was blessed with an isolation so beautiful only it’s residents could begin to understand. It was my home, and I was proud of it. 

Summers were hot but not too hot. People still felt somewhat comfortable with letting their kids play outside till sunset, that is, if they weren’t inside playing video games. In some of the suburbs, block party barbecues were still had. Beer bellies husbands and mom jean wearing wives shook hands and hugged as burgers and hotdogs were handed to kids staring in awe at Walmart-bought tiki torches. At night, Sutton’s seasonal carnival would spring to life; bringing with it smiling, cotton candy eating faces and a tone reserved only for the most idealistic, small town carnivals.

I guess, at the end of the day, I’ll say what every half-assed writer has to say about his home town: it was idealistic, idealistic and perfect. And yeah, like I said, everyone says that about their home town, but Sutton had one thing over every other town, and that... was the sunsets. 

No town could do sunsets like Sutton. 

No amount of: “Golden rays of sunshine wearing dresses colored with the hues of thousands of shades of... blah, blah, blah,” could ever begin to describe a Sutton beach sunset.

God, a tear wells up in my eye just thinking about it. 

That said, the one thing in the world that could be beaten by a Sutton sunset was a Sutton sunset shared with those you love. 

My friends: Daniel, Marcus, Jake, Matt, Q, Scott, Jon, Ben, Louis and others were raised with me, for, (at the time,) nearly a decade and a half.  We had been friends, more than that, family, for just as long. Some of them I still have in my life today, others, less so. These were friends these legendary sunsets were often shared with.

We LIVED on Sutton beach. There were days where I knew the coarse sand and cool water much better than I did my own home. Great memories were made there; so many that I could fill the pages of this book recounting them.  

That, however, is for a different time. 

For now, I’ll speak on the person that I would share both my most heartbreaking and heartwarming Sutton beach sunsets with. 

The girl?  Kate Reynolds.


The bell rings. 

”Shit.”