I’m a water sign, and as a small child, I learned to swim at Rocky Point, NY (it’s near Stony Brook College, it’s a beach town, my father’s family has some little bungalows out there and we used to spend weekends there)…my dad would toss me and my sisters into the surf, each of us inturn, as though we were mermaids or boats and I would just go. I had no fear of it…I knew the breast stroke and the backstroke the same as any suburban kid who had a lesson, and of course I could float. My mother, who never went in, would say “And you can go as far as that bouy” or “No further than the sandbar” but I didn’t listen. Launched into the surf I’d dive under again and again, waves cresting over my head I’d get knocked down by a big wave, get back up and wade further out, almost daring the water to come get me
As a teenager, I’d get liquored up and go skinny dipping with friends at Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach (which is not nearly as glamorous as Rocky Point, as evidenced by the fact that no one swims there by day, only under cover of night). Everybody else would splash around in the shallows, playing grab ass or keep it away (if we had a bottle, keep the bottle away from [well whoever we designated as the asshole] was a popular game) but I’d throw myself into the water like I thought I was a boat
I’m 38 years old now, but the sea still calls out to me. From time to time, I’ll disappear to Rocky Point and wade out, or I’ll spend an evening at Brighton Beach (yeah yeah, the fucking sign says NO SWIMMING AFTER DARK but when did I ever let a sign stop me) just so I can wade out. I think of wading out into the surf as going home, and in some ways it’s better therapy than I get on the shrink’s couch. Sure, every once in awhile, I get pulled under by a strong current, but I’m still here.