I have been thinking so much of the sea lately. It's no coincidence James Joyce called it "our mother" in his Ulysses. It's been almost a whole year since I have seen the vast ocean. As a Caribbean man, the sea has always been my backdrop, my life's wallpaper so to speak. I often think of the magical summer days I lived in small villas or rented houses in Puerto Rico's Northeast coast. While I was growing up my family would spend two full months on the beach each year during the 60's and 70's. From resort-like Dorado with its white and peaceful coves to the raging surf of Humacao's Palmas del Mar. I distinctively remember July of 1978 at Palmas del Mar. I was about 15 years old. It was a summer of tennis and backgammon as I remember it. The soundtrack from Grease and an Euro-disco band Voyage was all the rage in those days. We were discovering that we fancied adulthood. Me and my beach buddies would do anything we could to imitate adults. We thought adulthood was about pleasure, pure and simple. We would smoke behind close guarded doors and sip rum and coke until we got nauseated. It was a cool thing to do back then. We would be on our bikes all day long with our swimming trunks underneath our clothes so we could rush to the beach or the swimming pool as soon as we wanted. These were formative years for me. I started to find my own identity in the late hours we stayed out by the Mediterranean style villas bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. I remember the mystery and seduction of the starry nights in the marina. Young golden men and vibrant women wearing blue eye shadow were the inhabitants of this world.
Memory is a fantastic editor, I must add. I also felt the angst of inadequacy back then. I had mild acne and was overweight, but boy did I dream back then...I imagined my future life to be full of love and happiness. I was too naive to realize the complexity of my world, present and future.
But these summer days gave me the wonderful gift of discovery. Now, the glaring sun had baptized me into adulthood. Indescribably sensuous adulthood. I could never go back again, my universe was forever changed, I began to dream like an adult, thirsty for adventure, hungry for love.