To Whom It May Concern: Messages fromLong Island
By Crystal Vagnier
“365? Are you sure? That seems like a lot.”
“One for every day,” Danny said. “Not at the same time, of course.”
“I do like the sound of that,” I agreed. I placed the wine bottle on top of my desk and grabbed a notebook to start making a list of the items we would need for our new project.
“But wait…wouldn’t that essentially be littering?” I inquired.
“Oh, I didn’t think of it that way. I suppose it would be.”
“That is a lot of bottles,” I added.
“It sure is,” he agreed. “Maybe…we should just start with day one.”
We grabbed our collection of glass bottles, writing paper, and duct tape. Dressed in heavy sweaters and black bandanas we hopped into my 1988 Toyota Corolla and headed East onMontauk Highway.
We were young and we were in love.
That is how most stories begin, right?
But we weren’t only in love with one another; we were in love with everything. We were eager to finish school and begin our lives as the people we believed we were on our way to becoming.
We were explorers.
We were infatuated with the prospect of new adventures.
It was deep in the heart of winter and I had just been granted a license to drive. That tiny ID opened up the entire length ofLong Islandto discover. It was a plethora of options that were once unavailable to us before. We had dubbed ourselves the Ambassadors of Long Island.
It was a late winter’s evening and we were home for the holidays inAmityville,New York.
“Let’s drive East,” I said to Danny.
“Okay! Where to?”
“Anywhere. I want to drive anywhere. Let’s drive until the road ends.”
“Sure. Why not?”
“I’ve never been there.”
“Then we really need to go there! We need to explore this island that we live on.”
“I know what we can do! A message in a bottle.”
“A message in a bottle?”
“Yes! We’re going to send a message off to the sea.”
We drove in the dark along the straight open road ofMontauk Highway.
“It’s so dark out here,” Danny remarked.
“It really is quite beautiful.”
We drove quietly past the vineyards and sleepy towns. We rocked along with the rolling hills. The stars of the winter night guided our way.
“Is that a castle?!”I remarked.
We had enteredWest Hampton. I slowed down to get a better look at the miniature castle that sat along Route 27.
“Look, there are lions and unicorns,” I observed.
“Is this someone’s house?!”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” I answered.
I pulled over along the side of the road. We walked to the grounds of the castle.
“Casa Basso,” we read out loud in unison. The dark bold script stood out against the white building.
“Is it a restaurant?” Danny asked.
“A museum?” I pondered.
We walked around the area inconspicuously snapping photos with gold lions and armed swordsmen.
The chill of the winter’s air froze our fingertips.
“Let’s carry on,” Danny said.
We drove onwards. We took our time; frightened that a deer would jump out and crash into our car.
We kept driving until the road ended. After90 mileswe had reached the end ofLong Island. We were as far east as myToyotacould take us.
Raindrops from the sky started to fall quietly onto the windshield of my car.
“What should we write?” I asked.
“Let’s introduce ourselves.”
To Whom It May Concern,
Hi! Thank you for finding our message in a bottle. We’re not sure who you are or where you are from but let us introduce ourselves to you. My name is Crystal Joy Vagnier and I am fromAmityville,New York. I’m 20 years old and I hope to become an actress or an author one day. I have many interests! I particularly enjoy children’s literature.
And my name is Daniel Edward Winkler and I am fromMassapequa,New York. I am 19 years old and I am studying Anthropology at NYU. We both are going to hike theAppalachian Trailafter graduation and hope to explore the entire world together! We have been best friends for the last 7 years.