August 31, 2008. Cold Storage Beach, East Dennis.
“It’s Michael Krantz’s birthday,” Jimmy says when I ask him the date.
The family near us has a boy about Grace’s age with the same insulin pump as mine. I talk to the mother. Among many interesting things, she tells me about Cheating Destiny, and parts about history of insulin. At some point we talk about my parents’ crying when my brother was diagnosed, and the boy says, “I have seen my mother cry four times.” He grins and adds, “And it was because of me.”
Two families away there’s a guy my age who is fit, who knows it, who wears dark yellow trunks and, over his nape-length curly graying hair, a navy blue bandana tied pirate style. He’s reading a hard-covered book called God of Sex, I think, although all I can see on the black cover are the big words “God” and “Sex” — I filled in the preposition — and he holds a fluorescent yellow highlighter. His lady friend (no ring) is blond and wears a yellow bikini. They are listening to Jack Johnson. It’s loud, which drew my attention to them. That’s the point.
I am reading Stephen McCauley’s Alternatives to Sex.
In the channel out of the harbor, the lobster roll boat has struggled in the unusually choppy surf and turned around. $20 for a lobster roll and aborted boat ride. Lazy American recreation.
We all talk about the Lobster Roll Boat. “Think about boats,” Emily says: “what they mean to fishermen and what they mean to us.” Yes, I have been on boats and not ever to fish.
I go in the water. Partly out of guilt: my mother says, “Look at Lydia alone out there, she wants you with her.” Partly out of peer presssure. Em and Jay are out there, and it looks like fun and I want to be a fun one, too. Partly because I waded out to my waist then realized it was not too cold to bear. Out there, I lick my lips. They’re salty. I’m young again.
A young woman, brunette in a white bikini and Paris Hilton glasses sits in a bright pink and white striped chair. She’s with her father. (She’s not old enough to have such an older boyfriend.) Out of their cooler she takes a bag of Dole lettuce mix and a plastic container. She pours something from the sm. container into the Dole bag, then bunches closed the Dole bag and shakes. Ah, salad in a bag. Again and again she puts a fork into the bag, which she holds on her bare legs, and spears some salad. She eats and eats, the whole thing. Perhaps because she is so beachy glamorous, she makes this efficient eating, well, charming. No, cute.
Jason left and came back w/ Nutter Butters and Heineken. I haven’t had a drink on the beach since I was 15 or 16 and went to Maine w/ Heidi C. and her mother brought a pitcher of gin + tonic along w/ the picnic basket. I tell my mother this. She’s alarmed, too late. “Sandy let you drink?!” She shakes her head.
At 3:30 it feels like 5:30 did two months ago.
God/Sex pirate and his sexy wife (can’t be girlfriend) have three sexy teenage children. It’s not only that they’re all good-looking. They’re supple, and sit in poses. Louche.
Later, Grace walks out to end of jetty and Jimmy follows. Our caravan gradually leaves. My father and I still sit in canvas chairs. He remembers carrying Eli, as a toddler, out to the end of some jetty. He remembers carrying a little Eli from Boston Public Garden all the way back to Brookline. He and my mother — always walking. There are no more babies to carry; the grandchildren are all school age. I realize that a person only gets, at most, two turns at babies in his/her life: as parent and grandparent. My parents have had their two.
4 thoughts on “– Last beach day”
Reading your notes made me choke up. Just as when a flag passes during a parade. Although we didn’t talk yesterday about the people close by I made similar observations. Especially the salad in a bag. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that. I too believe the couple was married, sans the ring. They were all very comfortable with one another. Like our family. We all enjoyed being together. Didn’t have to talk to fill the silence. It was a wonderful day. A memory maker. Not for just the grandchildren, but the grandparents also. Yesterday, when I was being pushed around by the surf, I shouted to Em, this is a gift. At the time I meant the churning water, but reading your entry, the day was a gift.
Your notes were moving, your mother’s, however, gave me goosebumps. Between that and Jimmy’s status of yesterday it sounds like a wonderful time…
Mom, you are right-we are comfortable-finally-and it is a lovely feeling.
Hey mom. I’m back.