The sun felt warm on his back, yet the thin breeze that pushed up from the sea, through cracks of the deck, still had an icy sting of Spring shadows. His body felt strong, even lying here. It felt strong with memories both muscular and of the mind. He could still feel the weight of his backpack, the way the straps cut into his shoulders as he arrived in a town and sought out a Hostel. He always had a plan, for the day, for the moment. What he’d do is choose somewhere with a good communal area and he’d check-in round 6 just as people were arriving back from a day out, early enough that they hadn’t yet made plans for the evening, late enough that the cool kids were propped and sharing beers.
Here’s what he’d do on arrival. He’d walk into the shared area and deliberately pick a table in the middle, right in the middle then he’d put his bag down, get his speakers out, and his laptop and play some carefully considered music, the kind of music that subtly indicated he’d read the landscape. His music supported conversation yet was big with statement – I get you. I am here. Let’s be friends. And he’d sit and tap into Wi-Fi and check his email and maybe, even, begin to sort through his photos of the day. And by this time, someone would have said hello, someone else would have smiled his way, and he would be in, part of it. Dinner. Drinks. Later more music, maybe a joint. His plan worked every time.
But now, home, lying totally relaxed, he tuned in to the discussion of the plans for this day – prising oysters off rocks, checking lobster pots, a hop round the island, a bbq for lunch, maybe later, fishing with the little boys – his focus was here and someplace else, his eyes heavy, he was aware of the pinkness of the inside of his lids and the prickle of a salt crusted towel as it dried, as he dried from his very first swim of the day. Here surrounded by his family, there was no need to seek out the table in the centre, here he felt completely comfortable at ease, here he would go with the flow while sometimes flicking back to adventures behind him and yet he felt excited for many more ahead. And such is the way nineteen year old boys have always, should always be.
7am and already the sun is pressing.