THE SPIRIT OF MECOX BAY
By Jude Hofmann
Eden was born, bred and raised in a modest neighborhood in Queens where life had been mostly unkind to her. Ahhhh but, even cruelty has a way of turning dreadful fortune into something spectacular IF you keep your faith alive and if you believe in the miracle of the lofty summer reeds that blow by the wind of Mecox Bay.
She arrived on the East End with two shabby suitcases in tow. A distant relative had left Eden a picturesque house on Mecox Road in the opulent town of Bridgehampton.
So….after two tumultuous subway rides, a long hike on the LIRR and a taxi, she had finally arrived! This new home was as foreign to her as if she had stepped foot on the moon. Wealth, class, style and wow, was it ever beautiful. Eden was intoxicated by the sumptuous heartbeat of the town right from the start. The men and women here were skinny and ravishing. Just perfect! Their children, their dogs, the cars they drove, the houses they lived in, everything was grand!
One day she took her bicycle down Mecox Road where the road meets the water. There he was, amidst the reeds, the most striking man she ever did see. Everything looked golden and hazy. The luminous hues looked like God dipped His paint brush in tones of sepia and created this sort of paragon. It was like looking through amber glass, even the water had a burnished glow.
He wore a hat and had a basket flung across his back. She squinted and raised her hand to her eyes and watched him digging oysters, flinging them into the basket with precision aim. She walked her bicycle closer to the water and stood near him, lifting her face toward the sun. When their eyes met, he tipped his hat at her. Ridiculously handsome. Dark, brooding eyes, long ebony hair with tumbling tendrils spilling out from beneath his hat.
She looked down, shyly, at her toes submerged in the spongy water and noticed that the bottom of her long dress was soaked by the golden sea. When their eyes met again, she smiled up at him with sun flecks peeping through the design of her straw hat. It cast speckled sun patterns that danced upon the bridge of her nose. Her long honey dipped hair caught every ray of the sun.
“My name is Bursala, ….please to make your acquaintance” he wiped his hand on his trousers then took hers and kissed her finger tips. She giggled “Hi, I’m Eden.” And with that introduction, the skies opened wide and rain began to hammer down upon them. Thunder and lightning lit up the skies. It was the prettiest thing she had ever seen. She tilted her face toward the heavens and when she looked back toward him he was gone. She looked to her right, to her left. Behind her. She was alone with the reeds swaying in the rain.
The next day Eden hopped on her bicycle and headed down to the bay. Through the blinding, ardent sun, she saw him perched upon a rock. He was delighted to see her and waved her over. She lifted her long sun dress and shifted through the reeds and climbed up beside him. He was reading a book, sonnets by Shakespeare. She studied his face. Sturdy, strong, teeth so white against sun kissed, brown skin. A soft shadow of a beard along his jaw line chiseled his face. His hair was loose and a soft summer breeze blew it all around them. He read these words aloud:
‘When he shall die, cut him out into little stars,… all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.’
“That’s from Romeo and Juliet” Eden sighed and Bursala nodded.
He set his book down, stripped off his clothing and dove in to the beckoning bay. She was surprised by his sudden decision, but her eyes never left him. He motioned her in, ”Join me, the water is beautiful!” He tossed his head to one side, his hair whipped behind him. His tanned skin was as wet and smooth as polished stone.
Eden demurely slipped off her dress and she stood there in her nakedness. He was completely mesmerized by her voluptuous, full figure. She dipped her toe into the water but Bursala wouldn’t hear of such nonsense. He playfully grabbed her by the waist, pulled her out deeper and they spent the day frolicking and splashing under a perfumed topaz sky.
He reached out his hand and traced the features of her face with his fingertips. Their faces were close, now, oh so close. There was a slight hesitation at first, but then he kissed her like she had never been kissed before. He twisted his hands up in her long, wet hair. He breathed into her “Ohhh Eden, I knew from the moment I saw you …. I just knew….”