My future husband, I’ll call him Tommy, was a jolly person when things were going well. He had a good sense of humor and really did confide some intimate thoughts and details about his life before meeting me, in the way that lovers do. I shared with him my dreams and hopes. We were growing closer and he admitted that he had never known life could be so good. By his own admission, he had never had the experience of having a “real” relationship with a woman. And though I was just a girl, I felt like a woman in his presence. We lived on the south shore of Long Island in a town that was known as a lively summer hang out. From the signs of first thaw in early April until school began in September, our little beach side community was invaded by Manhattanites who spilled off the Long Island Railroad dressed in shorts and flip-flops loaded down with beach chairs and tote bags bursting with beach towels custom ordered from L.L Bean. Locals lounged on the beaches during the day and strolled the sidewalks at night, ice creams in hand, with barking dogs and rowdy kids. Boating, fishing and beach-side clubs were daily distractions from commuting, work and bill paying. Tommy and I went through a very happy stretch. There was lots of laughter and love making and we shared our lives happily. I remember there were times where I looked at his big blue eyes and simply melted. I was very much in love and things felt really good.
In an effort to stay sober, Tommy discovered the joys of fishing. In the beginning he went out on day-trips that departed from a local dock. These “party boats” lauched at 6:00am and returned around supper time. I would drop him off in the morning and pick him up from the dock after a day at work in the bookstore. I was a manager by then and brought home a generous paycheck. When he lost his job (again) we were comfortable enough that he could continue with his hobby. There came a time when he invited me along on a blue fish trip. The boat went out into international waters where the blues and striped bass were abundant. I did fairly well, having caught two blues and a striper. After dark, I battled a bit of sea sickness, running for the bathroom. Upon opening the door, I quickly bolted (fishing boat bathrooms are not conducive to young women) and had trouble finding the horizon line. We laughed about this later, but I remember calling out to Jesus, Mary and Joseph for consolation. I was happy when the boat docked and I stepped onto solid dry land.
Eventually, we discovered surf fishing. We went out with some friends, geared with only the long, heavy fishing poles designed especially for this type of fishing. Walking onto the beach, baiting up and casting our lines into the shallow parts of the surf was exhilarating. It was great to be out in nature with my love and sharing this experience. The following weekend we went to the local tackle shop and we bought all the gear – waders, rods, line and matching hats. The waders came up to Tommy’s waist, as they were meant to. The smallest pair came up to my chest and looked like Lucile Ball in some crazy sketch. in the evenings we would head out at sunset, and on the weekends just before sunrise. We stole salty kisses and as the summer months rolled in, our sun-kissed skin grew use to these outdoor adventures just steps from our apartment. It was around this time that my former friend, Louise, had called and asked if she could spend a few days with me and Tommy at our beach-side apartment.
I awaited my former friend’s arrival with joy and excitement. When I met her for the first time so many years before, she was a student of very exclusive Manhattan Private schooling. When I saw her for the last time, I was filled with sadness at her betrayal and disappointed in what her life had been reduced to. A disaster of epic proportions.