November 16, 2015:

We rode our bikes down to Shelter Island, scrambled around the piled stone foundations, threw rocks at small crabs. On lucky days there’d be F-14s roaring off from North Island; on really lucky days a fleet attack carrier would steam out the bay. We were twelve, or thirteen, or fourteen. It was summer and the days were ours.

We were drawn to Polynesia. Not the real thing, but the tacky tiki bars that flourished in the ‘60s. There was one near my grandmother’s houseboat: the Kona Kai Club, I think. It was really just a bar, but it had a stage, and Arthur Lyman played it. My mother went there to dance when she was single. Perhaps that’s where she met my father, I don’t know. For us, the tiki torches and thatched roof were gravity. It felt familiar.

Freedom is time and bicycles. It was summer and the city was ours.




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