Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Beach - 482 words
Kevin Foster

He left his house shortly before dusk and soon he was headed northeast, toward the beach where they had planned to meet. He checked his rear-view mirror in hopes of seeing dust rise from the road, diffused into the air, dark freckles in the searing sunset behind, but there was no dust on the road and his view in the rear-view mirror was clear. Occasionally cars would pass heading west, toward the increasingly clear but still murky lights of the town he had just come from. There were no other cars heading toward the ocean that he could see in either direction. The approaching twilight would bring with it a cool, damp breeze from the ocean, which he always found bizarre and thought perhaps that it – the breeze – symbolized something that he couldn't put his finger on, but even in the now faint light of dusk, the air hovering over the blacktop was warbled and as his car cut through it, its stale, rubbery smell whooshed into his open windows. His hands sat lazily atop the steering wheel, motionless, glistening with perspiration – he did not reach for the air-conditioning knob though it might have made him more comfortable. He preferred the wind, and besides, he knew that the breeze was coming and it would sweep over the road and push the stale air away and soothe the road. On the dash, the odometer logged another mile.
He could smell the water before he could see it; thick groves of trees lined both sides of the road as the road twisted to run parallel with the coast, but he could smell the salt and he thought maybe the sand. If he did not know these roads so well, he might have no idea that he was less than a quarter-mile from the shore, but he did know the roads and anticipation for the breaks in the trees swelled in his otherwise dormant chest. In a moment, they came and he saw the improvised grass parking lot and the red jeep and the white SUV and the little blue car and he saw that he would park between the red jeep and the little blue car. In another moment, he was in the lot and he rolled to a stop. On the beach there was a small fire. Two men sat lazily back in the sand and prodded the fire along with long sticks and another man, the man who would leave for the navy soon, walked slowly from the edge of the woods to the south toward the fire carrying two logs. He reached into the glove box for the plastic bag with the four cigars he had bought for the night. They felt damp in his hand. The three men gathered by the fire looked his way at the sound of his door opening, tiredly but with great interest.

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