In the Morning

In the morning we walked the length of the West End of Commercial Street. The street was narrow, and cars were delayed by tourists strolling and biking. We admired old homes, nearly all converted to inns with names like The White Wind, the Queen Vic. There was a larger one with rainbow-colored bunting, and we debated whether that was the right word for that type of decoration. (You suggested I ask my mom.) I liked the toothpaste green paint on a house after the road curved south.

We spent the first day at Herring Cove Beach, a narrow strip on the western edge of the cape. I was mostly drawn to the spot by an online review that claimed the beach’s placement meant the water was slightly warmer. The beach was not crowded. The sun was out and the sky was clear. The waves broke more frequently than our usual beaches, but they were small and rocked idle bathers along the shore. The sand was coarse, the ground under the waves rocky. I could not see without my glasses, and I worried whether the dark shapes below were rocks or something malevolent, waiting to sting or swallow.

There was a moment in the Harbor Lounge when we talked about an acquaintance. I said I sometimes don’t know if I’m in on the joke, or if there is a higher-order humor where he’s laughing at me. You didn’t think it was like that. I said maybe I have a general hang-up where someone might look at me and dismiss me, thinking “You’re a ridiculous person.” You said you never knew I felt that way. I said that it was the first time I thought to express it in such terms.

You asked about dream cars. I said convertible, and you chose your perennial Jeep Wrangler. Then we walked by a house with those two cars parked out front, and I whispered: “It’s happening! Our dream is happening in Provincetown!”

The weather was crummy the next day. I walked into many of the shops; you had to stay in to fill out forms for work over again. We watched Diary of a Teenage Girl. We went to a bar, which bumped their typical activities in favor of football. Fans applauded after each play, while I marveled silently at my apathy towards the New England Patriots.

And the pines on the dunes, twisted by wind: the tenacity of life.

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