Hamptons Summer

Written By: Stephen  Puckett-Humphrey

You know every day I awake with the feeling that I’ve forgotten something. I open my eyes burdened with the residue of some underwater dream fled before my sight. Looking up at the tattered underside of my bunk-bed it’s as if strange unexplained shadows flit across its canvas. Some song lingers in my breath. Getting out of bed, I rub my eyes clean of this illusion and open the curtains to reveal the sky. A keen blue smiles through the outstretched arms of the great oak-tree in my backyard. Some distance beyond this tree, in the back corner of the plot, lies buried my old dog about five feet deep. I think of death’s strange mystery and how even now his bones must lay there in the earth while his flesh is turned to dust and his spirit is long fled. It is summer, around the middle of June. The morning sun through my window caresses my face with an aggressive warmth that instantly speaks volumes of the inviting burst of this wild, lovely season. I hear my friend Matos come to the front door and walking out I see him there with the same energetic smile he always wears, his face quite lit up through the screen. “What’s up Puckett!” he exclaims, as he enters dressed in the early sun. Sitting down at the table, we naturally embark on the daily discussion of last night’s revelry. What did we do last night? Well, about the same we do every night. We gather in a half-lit basement (usually mine) waiting for girls to grace us with their presence. There’s beer and music and talk. I have a drum set that I bought from a friend at a bargain price of five hundred bucks some two years ago. I’ve gotten quite good. Put my friends at the other instruments and man can we play. In fact, last night we played all through the party until about three in the morning when we finally called it quits. Around that time, usually, is when those left of us gather upstairs and the conversation takes that sincere and somber turn that can be quite refreshing. You know, when the soul sort of pokes its head out for a bit in a restless groping after something more. Whoever lingers after the party’s done is looking for something. Maybe we’re all looking for the same thing. Anyway, the drink gets to you. We end up talking about friendship and music, the nature of life or the human being, you know, something a little better than the usual bullshit we say. Of course this mood is rare and comes and goes, but is always quite a treat. I find it funny that the only time we can really come to it is in that empty stillness of 3 A.M. when there’s that sort of lull that sings of loneliness. A calm after a storm is always a little eerie. Ha! What are we always running from I wonder? It’s like we endure a sickness when the cure is in our grasp. It is a silly condition and we are silly creatures. But, anyway, such philosophy is boring.

Returning to the Saturday I opened with, about mid-day, we’re at the beach swimming amid the roaring waves that crash in monstrous glee; their spanning spray casts the sky in ribbons of white that glitter in the falling sun. How to describe the vigor of a summer’s day? It is a lot like freedom or sex or something like that. Ecstasy tempered with the thought of transience. You know. It is a fruitful season. After a time, breathless, we get out of the water and walk back across the sand. We join a group of kids who are scattered for quite a span across the beach. They are all drinking, talking, and laughing. What is there not to laugh about during a Hamptons summer? Very little I’d say. I look up towards the parking lot and see a couple cops standing and talking to an elderly woman. She seems to be pointing towards a bicycle that leans against a fence near the dunes. This sends a thrill through me and my stomach turns a little. I tap Matos on the shoulder.

Why does this bicycle matter my reader may ask? Well, I suppose I haven’t exactly told you how Matos and I came to the beach in the first place. Let’s go back a little to fill you in. After we had left my house we stopped briefly on Main Street outside of BookHampton. You see, the problem was Matos had a bike and I hadn’t, and we surely weren’t going to wait for the bus, nor did we have any quarters for it anyway.

“Dude, how are you tryna get to the beach? We need another bike. I’m not tryna wait while you walk.” “Yea I know but Roger and them took all the ones that I had at my house.” Just at this moment a lady had walked into BookHampton. What did she leave outside but a pristine Hamptons Cruiser blue and gleaming. Matos looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and a sly smile. Sighing a bit, I glanced about nervously, before mounting the bike and riding with all haste out of the village. Down the hill, past CVS, and onwards to our coveted destination: those sprawling beaches of Amagansett where our friends with excess leisure and week old hangovers would be doing nothing but laying under the sun.

Now, returning to the present, well, as it turns out, the cops couldn’t find out how this lady’s bike had become so mysteriously misplaced. And, the irony was, I overheard her exclaiming how she did not much care for the bike but how the wicker basket formerly attached to it was most dear to her. This same wicker basket I had torn from the handlebars and cast into a thicket along the roadside leading to the beach some hours before. Matos and I laughed a bit at this while we bought hot dogs.

Later, when the day was past, down fell one of those crystal clear starlit nights wherein the Milky Way spans the sky in an overwhelming splendor. We are at a party hosted by a girl from Manhattan. Her garage is bigger than my house. This makes me laugh. The conversation goes on and it is actually quite a pleasant night. After all everybody here is being a bit more peaceful than usual. No smashing of windows, no urinating in other people’s drinks, no stealing of valuables, no fistfights in the street. Really a singular night, truly unique! As it gets later a group of us decide to walk down to the ocean. There’s a girl, a stranger to me, whose beauty has pleased my eye and I’m glad to see that she is one of the group. As we cross the sand to the shore, a similar scene as I have already described unfolds before us, save that the roar of the sea now breathes upon our ears. We all sit down in the sand and she somehow comes to be just beside me. My advances are coyly returned perhaps. Yet, time soon passes in its silent, unforgiving way. We arise and prepare to leave. When the girls get in a car and are about to drive off we grow a bit rude towards them as is the nature of our frustrated youth. My friends are already skating away with loud and vulgar exclamations. They pass as fluttering shadows under the streetlights. I cast one sincere glance at this girl, before she closes the car door, and ask her if I shall see her again. The manner of her response grants me a pleasure my life is usually bereft of and I am reassured and smiling as I follow my friends down the deserted street. What more to say? The hope of her resides in my bosom. The streetlights burn as small fires. I amuse myself with the thought of their bursting and their contents flowing like lava onto the pavement below. Life is pretty funny, isn’t it? Beneath all the beer and angst and partying maybe there really are some lofty reflections hidden in me.

Yes, one moment and the feeling passes as I am finally home and lie down in bed. I think, was it really anything? After all the night has been quite long and I have had quite a bit to drink. And yet there is a pleasure in it and I know tomorrow will bring me to the same silly reverie. Yes, I know it will. It is nice to have leisure. And in a summer such as this you really never can tell whether you’re achieving a certain spiritual transcendence or simply developing a drug addiction. Well, does it really matter? For now I’ll think of her eyes and enter again into that mysterious realm of sleep.