And I Hated the Sand and I Hated the Sun

by Shaina


Is where drunk people go to sit down without their shoes.  We were afraid we couldn’t get our tickets because the doors opened at 5:30, and our train was at 5:30.  It turns out you can enter at 5:20.

It seemed fancy to be sitting on a train in a straw hat and sunglasses on the way to Block Island for the weekend.  Like old time-y or some shit, but only if I was ignoring the brevity of the trip.  And the train itself, which was frigid and hard…but then to me, every train is the Polar Express if I need it to be or I’m going somewhere good.  And I had yogurt covered pretzels, so there was some scrappy luxury to be had.  My girlfriend, Bettina; my sister; and I all slept most of the way to the ferry, since we left at the ass-crack of dawn.  Once we got to the boat, we waited a bit on line behind some boring teenaged girls, and then we finally boarded.

I’m used to the normal ferry, since I spent my whole childhood getting my sea legs and learning not to throw up on it, but the newer, high speed boat we took was a new beast to surmount.  By the time we got to the island, I was feeling shitty and already tired of the day-tripper tourists everywhere.  Since I’ve always associated the ferry ride with “on my way to grandma’s house,” I’ve never really been able to relate to the people out on the deck getting drunk and ready for a day or weekend of revelry.  Anyway, my mom picked us up from the boat and brought us to my grandma’s.


Is an artist and one of the nine-hundred-and-something year-round residents of the island.  Nothing is open in the winter on Block Island.  I have been in the winter.  What happens is five things:

  1. The ferry is extremely terrifying, and a woman on the boat has a parrot.
  2. I make dinner for my grandma and some of her island co-habitant friends.
  3. It’s so cold that my bread dough won’t rise.
  4. It turns out a lot of the co-habitants like scotch and water or soda.
  5. I’m so cold at night that I almost cry.

My grandma also has a cat named Rosalinda.


Is a Havana Brown cat named after a woman from Havana with beautiful eyes from Billy Joel’s song Rosalinda’s Eyes.  Rosalinda has a terrible temperament and quite entitled behavior, probably because she knows Billy Joel wrote a song about her.


Tried to play with Rosalinda, because she thinks she’s a cat whisperer, but Rosalinda doesn’t have time for the paparazzi, so she was rude.  Whatever.  We all got our bathing suits on and went to the beach.


When I was a teen, because I was too cold to go in the water, because I was too skinny, because I never ate, and the sand felt gross, because it’s tiny rocks, and the sun reflected off my sternum and burned my chest from the inside.  Once, I almost passed out walking to the beach, and I had to sit down in a lounge chair by the water where I could just have the nothing, and the wet was containing the sand, and the wind was dispelling the sun, and I was unoppressed.  It all hurt, and I was so hungry, but I looked good in a bikini, and that meant something to some other iteration of myself.

This time visiting the beach was the inverse, and I loved it all.  Sand got all on my towel–the same towel I’d been bringing to the beach since I was a kid–a towel from some unknown dance studio.  I went swimming with my sister and her boyfriend, who I’d never met before.  His name is


And he admitted that later that night, when I was carrying a platter of boiled lobsters to the dinner table and fell holding the tray, that he was mostly concerned for the lobsters.  I had to agree that I felt the same.  Luckily, only one fell off the tray, because I knew I was going down the minute my foot teetered on that goddamn uneven stone step that lies in the pachysandra between the deck and the grass in grandma’s backyard.  I ate the man down, and I enthusiastically approved this new boyfriend.  This man with his priorities straight.


That my grandpa built a long time ago.  Someone replaced the wooden slats on the bottom of it, which made me glad, because I’ve peed in that shower so very many times growing up, amongst the spiders webbing in the corners, and after a while, maybe it was getting a bit much. I wasn’t going to shower that day, because there’s nothing like hair full of salt water to make a person look like they have a chance at babeliness.  But I’m glad I did, because as it happened, it was a heavy seaweed day in the ocean, and I found a bunch of seaweed in my cunt.  And that can be quite terrifying if you’re not expecting it.


While I was there.  I wanted and needed it, and no one eats it in the civilized world except some people, so it’s nowhere to be found.  So we bought some on Sunday and made it for dinner.  We sat out at the same back picnic table as we had the night before with our lobster boil, and we had a feast.  Bettina and I made the fish with roasted cauliflower puree, aioli, charred lettuce, and green apple; we pickled the fattest, coral colored mussels and served them with grilled eggplant and scallions.  There was some garlic-y flatbread involved that everyone tore at with their hands despite its oiliness.  And we drank.  Gin cocktails that made everyone dumb.


Said, “Bettina’s name is Bettina.  And she’s tiny, and then she’s also TINY!”  And


Said, “Yes, Bettina, tell us…how do you stay so tiny?”  The real answer is probably that I eat all the food, but I don’t remember what the given excuse was.

The rest of the night, we went dancing and drank giant cocktails in giant communal mugs and talked about reasons why our childhoods fucked up our psyches and how we all met each other and all the things you talk about when you drink a bowl of moscow mules.  Last call on the island is one, so afterwards, we took a cab home and raided the main house for foodstuffs.  Back at the cottage, I made cheddar and brioche grilled cheese, and we ate and drank whiskey and yelled at me about what kind of a person carries weed without anything to smoke it with, and I said I just wanted to have the option.  And we didn’t play any board games, which is nice, because it seems like a lot of couples do that together, and it hurts my heart to think about that, because I hate games.

The next day, we went home on the normal boat, which was nice, and we laid outside on the bow in the sun and bummed about how we didn’t have time to see the alpacas and llamas at the zoo this time.  But it was fine and we’d go back one day or put in our notice at work and go back right away and never be seen again, which is quite a jump from my old feelings about being on the island in all that sand and sun.


Was ugly, and I drank a diet coke, and my skin hardened up as we approached the station, I guess.  But then we just went home and made matzoh ball soup, so that made me feel fine, I guess.  Actually, quite nice.