Today there were more people on the beach. The regular loner section was infiltrated by couples in romance, friends in pairs. There still remain a few loners, of all ages. Everyone enjoys the beach.
Then they arrive. A couple holding their matching all-white Air Force 1s. The girls wearing an ill-fitting Yankees fitted. After some time, I realise he’s wearing one in black. None of this annoyed me until their speaker began blaring, their choice of music painfully cliche.
He began with baby-making R&B before pivoting to 00’s Lil’ Wayne.
Justin Timberlake’s “Señorita” comes on and I make the decision: I need a dip.
I made my way to the water’s edge and could see the ocean floor’s impressive drop just a few paces off shore.
So I’m going straight for it, I thought. And I did.
I could still stand after the plunge (which was really merely half a meter or so), but my foot was swallowed by seaweed.
ew ew ew ew ew ew ew
There’s one rule I strictly abide by at the beach and that’s “never be the farthest one out.”
Luckily, on this hot Friday afternoon, there were plenty of others offering themselves as shark bait.
Also, the amount of people out there simply wading, or swimming, or snorkelling proved that swimming out just a little more was where the magic happened (and swarms of seaweed didn’t).
And it was true. The water was still and clear. When I looked below I could see straight to the bottom. I’m sure there was marine life bustling about, but all I could see were my own legs kicking back and forth to keep me afloat.
A moment of gratitude.
I let it all sink in
and worked my way back to the shore.
My sand neighbours were still there and–oh good–they’d moved on to Biggie.
I picked up my shit and moved. It’s amazing how noise gets swept away with even the slightest relocation on the beach. For a while I was successful. The sound was drowned But then either the wind changed or they made it louder, and I was back at the party I didn’t want to be at.
Frank Sinatra was now flying them to the moon and they were driving me up a wall.
Then I heard it. The familiar sound, cursed save for this instance. Was it a beep?
Yes. A few minutes later, there it was again. Their speaker was dying. I dove back into the pages of my book with the comforting white beach noise to set the tone.
I’m here for hours, long enough that the shadows of people meters away overtake me, prompting me to check whether or not they’re at the head of my towel, standing directly over me.
It’s Friday, and the booze is freely flowing. A group of girls next to me drink “aperol spritzes.” An inter-racial couple–Asian and white–who seem well-read and well-traveled (given the white guy’s Amazonian straw hat)–survey the beach with backs toward the water (something I find strange) drinking white wine from little plastic cups.
Maybe they’re waiting for friends to arrive. I reason. No one ever shows up. They’re ass-backwards by choice.
The couple in front of me–the man perfectly toned on top while revealing his aversion to leg day; the woman, blonde-hair flat-ironed so, therefore, doesn’t participate in the ocean dip–drink bottles of summery Sol.
This is the drink that lights my fire. Piques my thirst.
I want a beer
Luckily for me, Rich is off work soon.
The sun makes an Irish Exit behind evergreen trees that mark the edge of the beach. It offers a cooling shade to those of us on the sand, as a reprieve from an afternoon of sunbathing.
It’s a happy hour.