Pine Tree Campsite, Assateague, MD – May 31, 2013
Colors cover the beach, bright board shorts and bikinis, towels stretched over the sand, cars parked behind dunes. Groups of friends pile out of hatchbacks, parents spread sunscreen on squirming kids, footballs fly through the air.
People walk fast. Kids run. Cars sound loud. The world feels frenetic and I wonder if everyone is shouting as I walk along the edge of a parking lot toward the visitor’s center to get a camping permit.
I blend into the crowd, but feel alone, disconnected, staring at the kaleidoscope of colors and people crowding the beach, not part of it. I’m floating, half-there, most of me invisible.
Two girls haul a cooler out of a pickup. A man sprays sunscreen across his shoulders. Kids build forts with plastic shovels. I walk past, glancing back at the boat to make sure it’s sitting alone in the sand by the bay. Frank winks at me from the back, guarding my world, a sliver of yellow plastic.
I pass a volleyball net and picnic tables loaded with food. Cars grumble and search for parking spaces close to the sand. Someone asks me if I work at the park and I shake my head.
“Just a touron like us,” the man says.
Nothing is lonely like a crowd.