Unplugged.

Tropical storm Irene left Cape Cod late Sunday afternoon. There was no electricity throughout most of Brewster. All necessary information had been communicated, so B and I kept the radio and our phones off to conserve the batteries. We shut down, uncertain how long we would be without power.

B prepared a port reduction sauce for that Sunday night’s dinner. Candlelight was too weak for him to chop the red onion. I held and aimed the Maglite as he worked.

“I need you to shine the light here,” B said a little too sharply.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that he was just as frayed as I was by the evening’s inconveniences.

“I can’t anticipate every exact spot you need lit,” I said.

I didn’t use the baton-like flashlight to whack him. Instead, I spotlighted his hands chopping the onion on the stage of the cutting board.

We ate steak for dinner that night, seared on the gas stove top and cooked medium rare in the oven. The reduction sauce coated the meat and roasted potatoes deliciously. I wiped the remaining sauce with the last slice of baguette, then licked my plate to mark it mine for re-use the next day. And after, if necessary.

***

The Head of the Meadow beach in Truro is one of our favorites – more so on Monday post-Irene because it has shower facilities. The Blue Willow Bakery in Wellfleet is on the way and was open. They serve only a few things, but prepare them perfectly: made-to-order chocolate croissants, breakfast burritos, New York-plump bagels, fresh coffee. B and I shared an egg breakfast sandwich. The cheese was melted just enough to hold the contents together without seeping outside the bread and scalding our chins.

A handful of umbrellas was scattered along the tiered beach at Truro. We put up ours at the edge of the dune where the breeze discouraged biting flies. The day was clear and we saw the spray of whales in the distance, followed by the dark rolling of their backs. We counted seven before we returned to our reading: B The Brothers Karamazov, me InStyle (recovered from the withdrawn periodicals bin at the Brewster Ladies Library; it was an issue from 2004 when Brad was still with Jen and pre-Angelina).

We packed up by late afternoon and walked to the rest, shower, and dress facilities. I was impatient as a European family rinsed. The father and son wore matching utilitarian black Speedos, and the daughter a tankini. The kids were budding teens. I kept a further distance and my eyes averted when they both removed their swimsuits to rinse and wring repeatedly.

My cold-water rinse was not luxurious – no exfoliating bath gloves or citrus-scented body wash – but a necessary relief. B and I took turns holding the knob to keep the water spraying as we rinsed, fully suited. The water weighed down my afro and I fingered wet sections to encourage ringlets.

Two of the five lifeguards who had been on duty chatted with us as they waited. The young female lifeguard rinsed sand out of buckets.

“Another day at the office done,” she said.

I looked at the orange polish on her browned toes and felt envy.

The other guard was an older man, fit enough that I couldn’t be confident guessing his age. His upper thighs glared white between his red swim briefs and browned legs. I was surprised that he braced himself and counted to three in preparation for the cold blast of water. B and I laughed when he told us he too was without water at home and that would be his day’s shower.

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