Stillwell and Surf Ave


Image Source: Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao

It was a dime a dream and a dozen to be had on those young nights, when we didn’t have anything to worry about and holding hands on the coaster was enough for the rest of our lives. Stifling F Train to Stillwell Ave and to Surf Ave and magical salt-breeze relief, and days that would stretch out with no end, until the night came and the lights danced and hearts soared.

Riding the wheel, Cyclone spins, scalding sand of the boardwalk too much to take. We shared ice cream cones and Cokes and hot dogs and laughs and dime store dreams, and the day and the city and the beach and the world was ours.

At the top of the tracks we gasped, the Verrazano and the Manhattan towers close enough to grab and keep and the force of gravity about to take away our breath. Back on solid ground we hugged for stability and for love, the kind that only the young can know.

We dipped our toes in the protean sea, crystalline blue far ashore, churning green at our feet, and dove in, and hosed off and sweat suntan lotion. We rolled in the sand and nuzzled and whispered vows of love and meant them and the next day and the next year and the next decade didn’t exist.

We had everything and gave away nothing. We were young and in love at the seashore.

It was all we knew and all we needed and all I want…

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15 comments
  1. Alright, at this point I need to insist that I get an advance copy of your novel/anthology/collection of short stories.
    This stuff is too damn good.

    As an aside, the Cyclone sucks as a roller coaster.

    • The Cyclone is definitely my upper level limit of thrill-seeking. After that I’m all John Candy. Never shall I be upside down….

      You’re too kind, Guapola, thanks.

  2. The line “We had everything and gave away nothing” is killing me. Great, GREAT slice-of-life moment, Brian! The other thing that’s killing me is the tone— there’s a melancholy edge, but also a sweetness and a courage here that feels so singularly your own. Nicely done, man! Nicely done!

    • I don’t *need* it to live a happy life? But it’s amazing how much better a day is with the Bluebird Nod of Approval.

      • Aw! My day just improved 100 percent! Brian, you are a wonder. Man, you really, really are just a wonder!

  3. AgrippingLife said:

    Great! It’s like a poem. I can feel the swell of young love.
    Well done.

    • Thank you so much! Great having you here.

  4. Beautiful and evocative. The last line… I understand the melancholy now.

    • Ahh, longing. *sigh*

  5. Brilliantly written. Though my late teen-age years were spent a world away from Coney Island, it somehow represents a piece of the American journey into adulthood we all share. You’ve made me nostalgic for a place I’ve never experienced….probably because no matter where one grows up we were all, at one time, young and in love at the seashore.

    Well done.

    • Thank you so much, Alex! This piece was definitely about the symbolism. I just happened to see that amazing photo of Coney, so viola.

      • I’ve been reading you lately and I’ve definitely noticed your knack with voila.

        : )

      • *blush*

  6. I raaaaaally liked this one. So much that I brought out my Katherine Hepburn voice. It was yar.

    • Thhhaaank you, daaahhhlink.

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