I drove farther east from Westhampton until the south fork of the Long Island narrowed further and almost to its point. The sky had already begun to transition from night into morning. I could hear the sound of a silent car ride; the pavement moving beneath the four wheels of my car, which was a junked blue, four-door Chevy that was neglected and beaten over the years. The cloth interior had its share of stains and cigarette burns in both front and back seats. The headliner above my head drooped down, sagging like a bubble because the fabric loosened from the roof’s interior.
The car rumbled loudly. The deep gurgle from the engine knocked with a slight tinny sound, which perhaps meant that my beat-up four-door was near the end of its road. The odometer stopped well over 100,000 miles; the windows rolled up and down manually and the radio was equipped with an outdated, non-working tape cassette player.
I drove with no direction in mind after a long and somewhat successful night. My legs were tired after the hours in Hampton nightclubs. My body was also tired but my mind was still on the quest for something more.
I listened to the sound of my driving and nothing else. The lines across the road, connecting lengths of concrete that stretched down the long span of Route 27, resulted in the thump, thump, thumping sound under my tires.
I was somewhat mesmerized by my drive. I was awake, but somehow semi-conscious and spaced in a distant thought. I drove along with the wind flying passed the partially opened driver’s side and passenger side windows. The radio was off and the sun was taking its spot on the center stage. I could still feel the tingle in my lower half after an experience with a girl whose name never came into question.
As the island narrowed, the beach was to my right. Tall marshes and tan grass swayed as the salt air scented the winds with the sweet smell of summertime.
I could have driven this way until the tires fell off. I could have sat in that morning air until old age came to find me. I could have, I would have felt this way forever.
Finding a small cove that faced the water, I pulled in. My windshield faced a small dune. Beyond that dune were the waves coming in to taste the shoreline. There was no one around and no one else to corrupt the scene with an unwanted conversation.
I could hear the sound of the waves tumbling in. The wind whispered as the crumbled and returned to sea. Overhead, white and gray seagulls with crystal blue eyes and yellow beaks—flew in circles with their wings outstretched but barely moving, calling to each other with their high-pitched, repeated cries. I could see the small sand pipers running along the wet sand. The tiny little birds ran along the edge of sand and ocean, dipping their long, sharp, orange beaks in the sand..
The sun stretched across the water. It was like a trail of glimmering waves that reached out to the sea in a cone shaped beam beneath the hovering sun in the distant horizon. Somewhere, maybe 20-30 minutes away from where I was, my friends (or so-called friends) were elsewhere—perhaps wondering or maybe not wondering at all if I was someplace safe, or I left to go home.
I must have danced for hours. I must have walked from room to room in the large spread-out nightclub, which changed themes from one room to the next. There was the reggae room downstairs. Then there was the live blues and jazz musicians that played on the outside deck. Inside the main room, loud trance-like music blasted and bass thumped. People jumped and shook their bodies. Women gyrating hips against strange men, and me, playing a tongue dance with a girl whose tongue tasted from kamikaze shots and Alabama Slammers.
I was with a large crowd and new several people. But this moment—this moment alone on the beach; my windows opened and the sound of the shore pulsing like a soothing heartbeat; the gulls crying out, the sun warm upon my face, and the solitude, the serenity—the satisfaction that for the moment, there was none to please and no one to impress or prove myself to
I was away from the sarcasm and away from the insecurities that caused me to respond to each insult, but yet act as if I was unaffected.
There on the beach—everything was perfectly quiet
Everything was absolutely beautiful
I could have stayed there for days. In fact, I would have stayed there days had my wallet not been emptied while trying to impress the crowd by paying for drinks with money that I didn’t necessarily have.
I stepped out from the car and walked over to sit on the hood of my Chevy. I pulled out a Camel cigarette from a soft package. These were thicker than other cigarettes. They were called “Wides.”
I cupped my hand around the lighter and let the flame hit the tip of my cigarette. I blew out my first drag of morning to the sky.
More than my triumph in the club of successfully trying to be someone else and more than the sexual experience with a girl I never saw again, I sat with the sun shining down on me and the wind in my hair
I swear, I had the world by the balls . . .