Monday, July 07, 2014

Robert Moses Beach

We set up on a little patch above the surf, in front of a young, attractive family, a couple and their little girl. They looked European, Italian maybe. They spoke English to each other but you could swear you heard an accent. Tedious dance music played from their little black-and-red boom box. Several times, the man lifted it, shook it, blew on it. She sunbathed. Sometimes she’d lift her head to watch her daughter with a frown. Sometimes he’d rush up and scold the girl for not playing nice with Jackie, though Jackie didn’t care. The woman sat up to eat potato chips, deliberately placing one at a time on her tongue. She had eyebrows like Kate Winslet. Her husband picked up the boom box and blew.

A gust tore their parasol from its base and rammed it into an elderly couple in beach chairs behind them. Profuse apologies, expressions of concern. The man retrieved it, tried to reinstall it in the wind, thought better of it and folded it up.

When it was time to leave he took the little girl into the water and submerged her, holding her by the waist. She wailed as he carried her back up the beach. They shrouded her in towels and set her down. Before long she was quiet, relaxed, possibly asleep. The man picked up the boom box and shook, and blew. Finally they gathered up their things, the woman took the wrapped-up girl into her arms, and they walked off to the parking lot.