These heads – the buoys – wink at me when they lift on a swell. Sleek as seals. And I keep walking, looking by, wondering about the lobstermen. I can almost smell the dank rubber of their boots and hear their squeak along the deck. Unpleasant smells, messiness, cold, and brine. And always the marginal hours: mornings and evenings when there is no sun to heat up the chill coastal air, and there is only brutal uncertain darkness.
As I keep walking along the path, I am safe and dry. My cotton sweatshirt has that crisp smell of clean laundry; it swaddles me. It is like the smell of bakery-fresh bread: wholesome, somehow. A million miles away from the lobstermen. I know at the end of the walk will be a bright-lit cove full of tourist shops and restaurants. Retirees with matching t-shirts and baseball caps, walking hand in hand. A young couple, the father pushing a stroller while his wife says something to him and gestures with her hands. And the summer boys and girls who work the restaurants. They don’t make much, but they don’t seem to care particularly either. They look healthier than people elsewhere, with their eyes a dark-bright shiny, and their long tanned legs. The waiters run up and down in their white shorts; the muscles in their legs twitch. They are like young horses, agitated and in love with their own youth and with the steam of the kitchen, the generous tips and winks of the old couples eating lobster.