Back to the sea
There was a time when going to the Hamptons was something that city people did only in the summer. My family and I were going year round on weekends.Those were the days of small shops and gatherings at the bookstore. Every night after dinner we headed to Penny Lane and Paper Place to get cute things and from there to the bookstore to browse through interesting books and magazines and meet friends. During the day we were very busy with tennis, the beach, and the pool.
One day, after playing tennis at the courts of the village of East Hampton, I went with my children, Desi and Chris, to the supermarket that is a few steps from the courts. This time, the fish tank had more lobsters than usual.
“Poor creatures,their legs tied with tape, gasping for air, with no hope to be able to escape. Very sad,” I thought.
The three of us are animal lovers so after exchanging a few words in a very soft voice we developed a plan: to buy a few lobsters and take them to the sea. I asked the “fish guy” to give me three of those unfortunate creatures alive in a bag.
I heard myself saying “my son needs these lobsters for a science project in school so it is very important that they are alive. How long would they live in the bag? Will they last until tomorrow?”
“Of course,” the man reassured us, “even a couple of days.”
“Great!” I replied. So we paid and left, ready for the adventure.
First we went home to get a pair of scissors. Chris was checking the bag all the time. Yes, they were moving and seemed to be comfortable in the bag. When we finally got to the Old Stone Highway, we were optimistic about our plan. The three of them were alive. Desi was even talking to them.
“Do you know that you’ll be swimming home in a few minutes and nobody is going to cook you? Good news eh? Very good.”
The beach was three blocks away and so was their freedom. It was a nice summer day, not too hot, so the sand was a gentle caress on our feet. We were the only ones at this peaceful beach in Barnes Landing. Desi looked at me thinking that perhaps it was a crazy idea. Chris was the first one to go to the water. It was too shallow.
“Keep walking,” I said. “We need to drop them in a safe place otherwise they are going to be washed out to the sand. One, two three, swim, swim, do not stay close to the beach.”
At the beginning they were not confident enough to go deep into the water. It took them a few minutes to realize that the sea was their world. We didn’t leave until we knew they were fine.
As we were watching them swim away, a young guy passed by running and stopped for a moment to talk to Desi.
“Are you fishing?” he asked.
“No, it is the opposite. This is a rescue,” she responded. “We bought the lobsters at the market and we are setting them free.”
The jogger must have thought that she was lying or that we were in need of psychiatric care.
“Nice, he said, very nice.”
He probably was disappointed that there was no lobster fishing in that area. He gave us the OK sign with his hand and left. Or could it be that he was going home to get a net to take the lobsters back to reality, not the cruel one of the fish tank but the equally horrendous one of boiling in a pot?
We went back to the house to have lunch by the pool. In our minds we had the same question: Were they all right? We hoped they were enjoying their new freedom and we shared their happiness.