Saturday, May 29, 2010


Jack went for a swim, because he had time, because he had nowhere else to be and nothing else to do. For its 38 years, his body still felt young with its runner’s torso, its quick perceptive musculature. The body that holds the memory of all that has happened to it. A puckered white scar from an appendectomy. The small constellation of moles on his back. He felt the hairs on his legs raise slightly in the chill. The beach was windy and cooler as he walked closer to the sea. It would be cold. He knew it would be cold. Even in August, the waters in Maine were always cold – so far north. But he believed, without reason, that a cold sea was cleaner. The water was purer somehow than water further south. Even as it churned up the bottom sand, it was clean. The sand felt fine under his feet. No seaweed to tangle up his legs. Nothing to be wary of on the bottom – no jellyfish or urchins. Occasionally he would see a dead crab wash up ashore. And then he would toe around it gingerly, avoiding the pincers and carapace, even though the animal could no longer attack or defend itself. With his big toe, he might dig a divot in the wet sand and push the crab in – a little funeral so the gulls would not pick at the body. Respect for the dead who do not care anymore about respect. Jack supposed if the dead were crabs, they probably never cared about respect to begin with.

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