My family and I take a day trip down to Galveston Island. We don't go down to the beach. We don't have to. The smell of salt permeates the air. We walk the city streets, shops selling t-shirts and shell necklaces beckoning with open doors. We spend too much time in the first store. My grandmother insists on buying something for everyone. My mother jokes about moving here, and points out houses with "For Rent" signs on them.
Everything here is old. The houses are tall and stately with wrap-around porches and gingerbread trim. We drive by historical mansions once owned by important people. They line the big street, one on almost every block. I wish it could be like this where I live. In Houston, everything is noisy and congested. There is no room for old things, or a breeze, or the sky. I look up. A group of pelicans skim over the trees, wings bent in an M shape, wide brown beaks stretched toward the sea.
I can't smell the salt anymore. If I lived here maybe I would forget what it smelled like. I hope not. I miss it already.