Down For the Day

Sand, everywhere on everything, sand and more sand. Chip bags cartwheeling across the beach or scavenged by seagulls, umbrellas turned inside-out, stuffed into overstuffed garbage cans. String bikinis and dime store towels, legs, arms, torsos, bellies, backs, covered in sand and more sand. Voices, thousands of them, carried inland by the onshore winds, commingled shouts that ebb and flow like the waves, a constant hum only interrupted by the rattle of the train that disgorges more and more bodies seeking relief from the summer heat.

They all come down for the day. Camps set up shoulder to shoulder, mini-habitations, refugees from the city. Running into the water with a shout. By August it's like a bathtub. The late-afternoon sun, relentless, lowering in the sky, the shadows grow long, lifeguard whistles from one stand then the next, like a virus up and down the beach: everybody out. Shaking sheets and packing coolers, missing flip-flops and crying toddlers, trying to rinse off the sand, its everywhere on everything, sand, sand, and more sand.