Night I Could Not Forget

Written By: Eleanor Gaus

It’s like “magic in the making” every time I drive into East Hampton. My mind takes an “about change” photo impression. I always get entranced after I pass the first vision of the winery and the farm grown fruits stands, right before the right turn towards the ocean off Mantauk Highway towards Main Beach. I begin to get excited about what is going to happen when I get there as soon as I see that familiar scene in front of me. That is what happens when coming from the city. It is like an adventure is unfolding. Something in the air just lets me know that I have arrived somewhere else, very different, another pace and another set of events. I even hear the tones of soft jazz in my head before going somewhere with that music playing. There is always a story being crafted in my mind each time I turn that corner for the first time in the summer. Observing the way the trees are cut, their precision, the dimensions between each house and just the land around the houses gives me time to concentrate on breathing in the fresher air and I just get this upbeat and uplifted feeling knowing what is ahead. That is just how special it is. I always begin to create the chapters of what might happen here and they just happily go through my mind, leaving everything else behind. Even when viewing the humbler scenery in East Hampton, or the most down to earth things, which barely exist anymore, there is a feeling that something special happened here or is going to happen. It’s the magic being woven and transcending from one person to the other to keep improving the inside and the outside. It’s the karma, the fung shwai.

As I turned the corner going towards the beach, passing Lily Pond Road and then onto the ocean, passing the house at the corner of Main Beach, where I had once stayed as a guest before it had been sold to its present owner, I stopped and took a deep breath and got out of the car. I felt the salty air stream towards me.

The waves and the sand spoke in their silence. The scenery and homes on the ocean around always echo stories of “what happened here.” It is almost as though you want to put your ear to a peep hole or inside a big seashell and hear something new that will capture you and take you away forever. Just looking out over the vast ocean takes you into foreign places, far away without going anywhere. It’s endless. The mind is so powerful under certain circumstances.

But one particular evening before dusk, there was something different on the beach. Under the pale blue sky with tones of orange color burning through, was an elegant beige tent that was put together with the intention of a very special romantic dinner for two. It seemed rather obvious to me. Butlers and serving people were there with trays of food walking in and out of the tent, setting up what appeared to be a special occasion, just for two. My imagination took flight. Who could these two lovers be, I thought to myself, and how beautiful that one of them would surprise the other with something so out of the ordinary. Perhaps it was for the perfect romantic marriage proposal or perhaps just to let them know they were in love. How wonderful to be so lost in feelings! Maybe they planned it together for a special occasion, like an anniversary. Maybe it was just something they would just both enjoy and it would be an experience to remember. Whatever the story, it has never left my mind and it is ten years later. There was something about an isolated tent in the middle of a big body of sand after everyone had gone (almost looked like a scene out of Lawrence of Arabia in the desert). Being served on an oceanfront under the sky in such a luxurious way sparked a story in my mind of caring enough to go out of someone’s way for another and to be be part of a very special personal experience.


The beach, the orange sunset and the way that one person or both had chosen as a way to show their affection and appreciation while their heart had taken flight somehow moved me, without even knowing them. The thought that someone had made the effort to do something so special still sticks out in my mind. I am still curious what that was all about and what was their personal story. If those people read this story, they will recognize that evening and perhaps they will know that someone actually observed that evening and said “Wow!” It just made me melt.