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"Goddamn, I love Irish girls."
Two boys are walking in the opposite direction as me. I'm not Irish. I'm Greek, Jewish and Russian. They're talking about the girl walking ahead of me. Where does she get her hair done? I'm the only person on the street with curly hair.
I pass a few more churches, many more hair salons and more old ladies. None as impressive as the first few. I see the beach. For some reason, it doesn't smell as strongly anymore. I think about how nice it will be to take of my shoes and sit. Listen to the ocean. Think about reading my book and refuse, because my own thoughts are too good.
It's covered with dead jellyfish. I've seen this before.
When I was younger, I used to go to Miami with my family for Thanksgiving. We would all walk together at night; children running ahead, parents drunk and stumbling behind. Someone had to be the designated parent. My Poppy.
"Rachel, don't run that way!"
"Because there are jellyfish all over the beach at night."
"No there aren't."
"Yes there are. If you run on the beach at night you'll get terrible stings all over your feet and legs, but not at first. You, Rachel, are such a fast runner that if you ran on the beach at night you wouldn't feel anything for half a mile."
"A whole mile!"
"And by the time you started feeling the stings, you would never make it back alive. Your feet would hurt so much they would stop working, flopping until they stopped entirely and you fell face-down and were stung by dead jellyfish to death."
"But those people are on the beach."
"They have a blanket."
I did not bring a blanket with me to Castle Island. It was too cold and wet to sit down, so I started walking back and forth, looking for someone to take a picture of. I would get to be the creepy photographer today. I used the jellyfish as stepping-stones, seeing how far I could get only by way of those gooey, harmless discs. My toes and their tentacles.
I looked at my watch, it was getting late. Time for the trip back. Back by way of jellyfish, East Broadway, packing peanuts and the Silver Line.
A sign for free books. Really? Free? I had forbidden myself from buying anything not food or transportation related in the wake of my graduation from college. Free books were allowed.
"Take anything you like."
"What you're doing is wonderful!"
"Oh, he's moving. Got too many books."
"You can never have too many books."