Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 1: Dobject's Beach

            I park the bike at the top of the pier, and look out over the shore. Grey ocean. I look to the left. The sand reaches in a straight line for about a mile, which looks like one of those God’s Eye paintings where the landscape and the bare reedy dunes are all sucked into one point, but at the very peak of my vision I can see a minor hesitation in the sand, as it retreats around the corner of the island into a weedy jetty. The sun is about four feet above the horizon, and I can see two colored specks of nylon and jeans some distance away, but I can’t tell who it is.
            I look to the right. A forest looms over the edge of the shore, a few shipwrecked trunks and old trees look like tide pool playgrounds. One is being swallowed by the tide. I’ll go this way: it’s less crowded. I kick the pedal, rise off my seat, and roll onto the sand.
            Everyone is probably going to wonder where I am again. Or maybe not; most of them are out fishing on the island and have probably guessed I’m out biking and listening to music. I was a little embarrassed yesterday when they caught up to me on one of the deserted sand roads near our house yelling Beck lyrics into the Spanish moss and knobby brush. They pulled the golf cart up behind me and probably tailgated me for a few seconds before they honked the horn. No, I’d much rather be out here by myself on the beach away from the mosquitoes in the woods.
            Put your hands on the wheel, let the golden age begin.
            I hear the slow, bright song in my ears.
            Let the window down, feel the moonlight on your skin. Let the desert wind cool your achin’ head.
            This is probably the fifth time I’ve been alone out on the island for the past three days, and I’ve been listening to this album on repeat every single day.
            Let the weight of the world drift away instead.
            I lightly swerve around a dead tree half submerged in sand and sharp barnacles. I wonder what everyone back home is doing?
            It’s a treacherous road with a desolated view.
            I hope I don’t meet anyone along the way. I want to sneak a look at all of those empty kayaks hidden under the pier at the end of the island again. The sand was covered in footprints and scuffs, and no one was around.
            There’s distant lights, but they’re far and few.
            Sometimes I see a jogger, or some beachcombers looking for olives on the shell bank near the sea, but I’d rather not wave or smile or anything like I’m passing someone on the street. I like pretending that I’m the only one on this tiny island.
            And the sun don’t shine, even when it’s day.
            Sometimes I’ll find some footprints, or a dog trail in the sand and think, now how did that get here?
            You gotta drive all night, just to feel like you’re OK.
            On the midnight ferry ride over here a few nights ago, I remember looking at the dark water at the head of the boat. It reminded me of a huge flat blacktop.
            These days I barely get by.
            There’s just so much space out there, on the water. I thought I could ride a bike on it if it were solid, and it would be like I was on the floor of some giant airplane hanger hanger.
            I don’t even try.
            I’d like that.


  1. I'm always in awe of your writing, Dobject! So happy you're joining us this year!

  2. Midnight ferry rides are one of the most amazing and scariest things to do. Wonderful writing.