Monday, January 21, 2013
Circling the Island
I remember when he first moved to the beach. It was a hot day when his brother helped us schlep all his belongings from upstate down to the shoreline. Back then there was no boardwalk connecting the two beaches. Barely anyone wandered around down there except us. The dude and I could be found trudging through the sand and over the rocks, hopping onto the jetties and throwing rocks into the water. One night we even snuck down there with a stack of wood and started a fire. No one was there to tell us no.
Fast forward a few years and the beach is a very different place now. The boardwalk increased daily traffic by about 110%, and then Hurricane Sandy promptly chopped it in half by damaging most of said boardwalk.
We've taken the land bridge out to Charles Point Island during low tide before, but I had yet to circle the entire island. The dude has done it before, so we figured we had to do it together at least once before we moved north.
Saturday morning we rose and shone early to bring the dude's car to the dealership for a pesky "check engine" light. After grabbing a couple of bagels at the surprisingly amazing Bagel Bar in town (I mean come on, a spinach bagel with scallion cream cheese? Ridiculous), we were lazying around on the couch when we noticed it was almost low tide. Whatever will we do when our lives don't revolve around the tide anymore?
We walked down to the beach and along the water. We hopped across rocks since the boardwalk bridge is still destroyed from the hurricane. We talked about memories of the beach from years ago and told "remember when" stories that made my heart hurt a little. I'm going to miss this place for sure.
We reached the land bridge and saw it was almost completely exposed.
"So what do you say, want to go for it and try and make it around the island? If we want to we have to commit and move quickly," he said.
I smiled and started running. The strong cold wind cut sharply across our faces. My eyes watered and my mouth numbed. I didn't care.
We hobbled over the slippery rocks and stamped through the piles of shells. The island was so close.
"We're going to have to move fast to make it around the island before the land bridge is flooded over," he said as we stepped onto the island.
"Just pace me at the speed you want me to go and I'll follow you," I said.
"Okay," he said. "It's 11:15. Let's go."
When we made it around to the back of the island I stopped quickly to look around. There was no wind over there, and everything looked different.
"This is the dark side of the moon," the dude said. "This is the side of the island that normally no one sees unless they're on a boat."
He pointed out the ruins from the old monastery that used to be on the island. Apparently there used to be a restaurant on the island, too. I don't know how that worked. Did people have to run across the land bridge and eat in 20 minutes?
We made it around the right side where the dunes and sand cliffs kind of reminded me of Cape Cod, and then the wind picked up again. We made it back to the land bridge just as the tide was starting to come back in.
He put his arm around me and we hobbled back into shore, the bitter wind trying to knock me over. I kept thinking about how much I would miss these moments, and how much I would miss our beach, but then I remembered that we would have a slew of new memories to create in new places.
Any day now and we'll find out if the house of our dreams is ours or not, and if the future I've created in my head will come to pass. Or maybe we'll just keep trudging along trying not to get knocked over. Either way, we're in it together.