Dawn was an exquisite gem. The soft light of the early sun sprawled over the ocean and beach like a lover stretching across a bed. A lover who stretched her arms straight out from her sides, and then reached up, her hands as far over her head as they could reach. Then she extended her legs, pushing her feet down. Stretched those long, lovely arms and legs to reach into the bright beyond. All with golden skin warmed from vibrant life.
Marcelino loved the taste and smell of the morning air. The sun, ocean, salt, beach—all of it tasted fresh and new. The air would eventually grow staler as the day marched dutifully onward, as more and more people jostled on the beach and noisy crowds took over. Still, Marcelino liked to be in this, in the hive of activity. It was different than the glory of the morning, and not as exquisite.
Amazing how each day started anew with that fine freshness. Each day, the sun rose to remind the world what was beautiful and promising. And each day, Marcelino took the early bus to his small stand by the beach to start brewing the coffee and unwrap the newspapers.
It was a routine he loved. Grinding the coffee beans and ensuring the exactness of the measurements of the beans and water. Arranging the various newspapers just so. Restocking the magazines that had sold well the day before. The rich smell of the coffee then filling the air and beckoning the first customers.
After these jobs were done, Marcelino could then stand in the shade behind his counter and watch the others around him getting ready for the day.
The best routine of all was the setting up of the beach chairs and umbrellas. All down the beach, long wooden chests were placed at regular intervals, like organized pirates readying their treasure to be buried in the sand. But no pirates were there. Instead, a young man and woman were stationed at each wooden chest. Each team of a man and woman brought out the chairs and umbrellas, then placed them in their area.
When Marcelino started working at his stand, he felt jealousy from seeing the shirtless men, with their youth and energy, as they shoved umbrella poles deep into the sand. But he no longer felt this jealousy, after accepting that he’d had his time in youth, and this was their time. Still, it was a shame that he could not be young again, given all that he had learned.
If he somehow could’ve been young again, what fun he could’ve had with the women out there setting up the umbrellas and chairs. The desire was there, undoubtedly, but what was bigger was appreciation. For, Marcelino thought, these lovely bodies in swimsuits greatly deserved appreciation.
What the young men next to them felt was simple lust. Not the reverence by someone who had experienced the pains and pleasures of many years. Someone who has come to appreciate the deep beauty the world has to offer.
Like the dawn. Like the sun, the ocean, the sand. The smell of coffee. The feel of newspapers, the result of many people working to tell readers what was going on around the world. But they didn’t have to report on what was happening right in front of him, of the women walking with those lovely, lovely legs.