Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On the Beach

The Adriatic is unabashedly blue-green, swelling and
receding in response to the pull of the moon as it
absorbs the criss-cross of fast boats churning up
foamy wakes. It is lunchtime for many of the families,
who are seated in the shade of their beach umbrellas,
cutting pizza with plastic forks and hunched over
take-out dishes of pasta. A few swimmers can be seen
off in the distance, but most are splashing around in
the breakwater--- children shrieking in bright
inflatable water-wings, and lovers locked in a salty
embrace with their chins on each other’s shoulders.

Vendors hawk cocco fresco and imitation-leather
handbags, threading their way through the assortment
of beach chairs and legs and kids with gelato goatees.
Women oil themselves, arranging their bikini tops for
maximum sun exposure with minimum tan lines, while the
men suck in their guts, streamlined in their Speedos.
In the afternoon, when the shadows begin to lengthen,
they will close the umbrellas and pack up their
assortment of beach gear and head to the parking lot,
where cars are double-and triple-parked in the
shimmering heat.

Elise Castle--Humboldt University


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