One Lost Summer (Part 2, page 1 of 8)

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Part 2

One Lost Summer


The old woman took in the beach and the sunbathers with mixed feelings of envy and loathing. The capricious North Atlantic wind vacillated between tepid and icy, raising goosebumps on pallid, semi-nude flesh under a washed-out, slightly overcast sky; the sun, what there was of it, generated a blinding glare and little warmth. The beach itself could hardly be referred to as such: it consisted mainly of sea-mud, slime, rocks and barnacles; yet children of every age and disposition seemed happy enough to poke about this primordial tableaux, turning over rocks and driftwood, shrieking with fearful delight at the discovery of crawling, scuttling, slithering sea creatures that had been around since long before the dinosaurs.

Most of the sunbathers had arrived as whole families sometimes consisting of three entire generations; from the ancient that, sweatered and arms folded against the chill, sat motionless and stared disfocusedly at nature, sipping cocoa from time to time; to young adults that tried to converse together only to be interrupted by some screaming child’s minor mishap, followed by the tearful proffering of a stubbed toe or scraped knee to some parent’s judicious pronouncement that the injury was not life-threatening; to children of all ages that were lost entirely in the moment, perpetually busy with soon-forgotten things that, taken in their turn, seemed at the time to be all-important.

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