As it got later in the day, he rolled up his towel and left the beach. A fine warm shower. He enjoyed how hot and how clean the water felt after the sea. And when he closed his eyes, he could still feel the current rocking him. He breathed in the clean laundry smell of his folded shirt and enjoyed the crisp coolness of it in his hands for a few seconds before putting it on. The white linen looked stood out brightly against the tan of his skin, and in the mirror he was pleased with his reflection, the warm brown of his arms, the hairline barely receding, the fine wrinkles around his eyes.
He left the hotel room again to walk along the Marginal Way and to get dinner. It had been his routine all week. The waiter nodded at him in recognition and brought him a basket of fried clams. Not greasy enough to saturate the paper sheet underneath. His beer was cold, and he could drink without thinking too much. At the table next to him a middle age couple were talking loudly about something. Their adult son who had just gotten divorced, it sounded like. The woman spoke with animated gestures, threw her arms up in sharp, birdlike motions that set her bangles jangling. The man seemed to chew deliberately, and Jack thought about how he looked eating food. As he chewed on a fried clam, he wondered if he looked as slow and deliberate and ruminative.