When Caleb and I decided that we wanted to go to the beach at 3pm on Saturday, everyone decided that they might not want to come.
“Isn’t that kind of late?” Shark asked us.
“We want to be there for sunset,” I told him.
“I’ll call and ask Emily if she still wants to come,” he said.
Both Caleb and I wanted to go late because we hate the direct sun. Caleb because he’s a vampire, and me because I am a fairy. “Sookie, your blood is especially delicious,” he says to me whenever we make love.
Now that we have a car, however, we frequently find that other people are at the mercy of our desires. “I’m the ringleader!” Caleb has taken to shouting. “I’m the daddy!”
Which is why, I guess, everyone, despite their protests, showed up at our apartment at 3pm on Sunday for a drive to Fort Tilden. The weather was cloudy, threatening of rain, but the air was still warm and humid.
In attendance was Sadie Lady, Shark, our new friend Emily, whom I will call by her real name because I am not feeling creative, Zee, my friend from graduate school, and her husband, Buxy. Zee and Buxy, who originate from Pakistan, are in from Prague, where they have been living for the past year in a Bollywood movie.
Because there was seven of us, but only one car, two people had to sit in the trunk with the cooler and the dead people. Those two people were Sadie Lady and Emily.
By the time we arrived in Fort Tilden, after what was, for everyone but Zee and I, a harrowing 30 minutes of listening to Katy Perry, Robyn, and Rihanna, I was pretty sure that Emily and I were new friends no longer.
We parked the car on the street, and walked approximately 30 miles to the ocean, past abandoned warehouses with blown-out windows, organic gardens, a church, and a lot of stupid looking hipsters wobbling around on bikes.
“The best thing about Fort Tilden is that you are really tired by the time you get to the ocean because you had to ride 20 miles from Williamsburg to get here,” one of them whined.
“Totally,” another one said. “Let’s call our album that.”
We set down our blankets, multi-colored and textured, on an empty patch of sand. Then, a plastic cup full of rosé in hand, I ran down to go swimming in the ocean with Sadie Lady, who grew up landlocked in the middle of America. She has only seen the ocean six times in her life. On Saturday, it was her fourth time swimming in it.
We continued on like that, enviably, until the sun hung low over the dunes behind us. On like what, I don’t know, because I drank a lot of rosé.
By 6pm, the beach had almost cleared. The low tide dragged the water out from the shore, and our 40 acres of sand widened.
There came a point when it was scary to swim in the ocean because if you confronted it head-on, it was murky black and full of creatures. When you turned your back, and ran to the beach, it slid silver back towards your feet.
In a manner true to our generation, we documented it all, only we documented it better, because we made our filters looks like Anthropologie ads.
In an Anthropologie ad, this photograph would be called “linen dress, $300,” but if I’m being honest, it should actually be titled, “bathroom break in the sand dunes.”
No one wanted to leave, not even as the sun set.
In the distance, we saw that someone had started a fire, and decided to do the same, to stave off the chill that never came off the ocean.
Fortunately, the sand was littered with the remnants of beach wood forts, so we dragged a bunch to a spot near our blankets.
“Does anyone actually know how to start a fire?” I asked.
“Buxy can do it,” Zee said, in her gorgeous, slow, articulated accent.
So Buxy did it. And he did it perfectly. By the time night fell, we had a raging fire going, right there on the ocean.
We danced in front of it like we were in a Dave Matthews video, only we listened to Madonna, on a Jawbone Jambox.
We stayed that way until 11pm, when the park technically closed. Then we left the fire burning, and ran towards the exit, hoping they wouldn’t close the gate. “Fire!” we screamed. “Fire! Fire!”
I’m just fucking kidding about that last part, we put the fire out with sand, and then made our way, dreamily, past the old army buildings, to the street, where we piled back into the Jeep.
Drunk on the day—and in some cases, on a lot of boxed wine—we were silent, buzzing with contentment, the whole way home. Sitting in the trunk this time with Shark, listening to The XX, I watched the lights of cars behind us cross and cut each other off. Not smug at all, I felt completely happy.