SOUTH END OF THE SEVEN MILE BRIDGE, LITTLE DUCK KEY, FLORIDA KEYS—As was the tradition when arriving in Key Largo from the mainland, I stopped in at the Circle K and bought myself a Slurpee. It wasn’t really a Slurpee though, more like a kind of frozen slush, but it would have to do. Brain freeze crushed my head as I explored the marina where, as a teenager, I used to crew on the dive boats.
I drove though Key Largo, observing what had vanished and what had remained and what had grown or been updated or left to rot, and I thought that, for the most part, it was still a nice place.
The bridge to Nowhere was nowhere to be found. The Yellow Bait Shop looked the same, and Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen had somehow birthed a much larger child a few miles away. I made a note to eat at the original on the way back out.
As I headed south, I was reminded of how beautiful the Keys can be—something you take for granted when you live here—or at least something I took for granted.
I parked at Sombrero Beach in Marathon—which isn’t really much of a beach—intending to do a little writing but I had somehow forgotten the no-see-ums, the gnats, the cloud of a thousand teeth. How could I have forgotten such misery? Key Largo has its mosquitos, but Marathon has its gnats.
So I sit now on the south side of the Seven Mile Bridge at a little public park as the sun begins to set and the air begins to cool and the gnats, as soon as the wind dies down, will begin to feed in earnest.
I hope my screens are up to the task.