The closest Matt had ever come to the ocean, before college, was Long Island Sound. Even then, he'd been reliably assured, by both Hollywood and friends who could afford to go away on vacations, that there was no comparison between the two.
He'd grown up swimming in the lake less than a mile from his house. He remembered loving spending his summers there, but he had clearer memories of the ice pops that he'd saved up money to buy from the snack stand than he did of the water.
Maybe it hadn't been that bad, or maybe he just hadn't known any better, but the idea of ever going back there again after this, back to the mucky water, (that he knew had to be filled with decades of decaying leaves, and god only knows what else, dead animals and deer turds and toxic run-off) was unthinkable.
He flopped down onto his stomach, facing the water, instead of sitting back in the beach chair next to John. After a few seconds he swore he could feel all the blood rushing to his head, even though the slope of the beach was so shallow as to be almost unnoticeable. "Can we just stay here for the rest of our lives? I'll be good, I promise."
John grunted in acknowledgment, but didn't move. When Matt turned his head to look, he couldn't see through John's sunglasses to tell whether his eyes were open or not.
"It's not a bad life, right?" Matt said. "I mean, besides the poverty, and the utter lack of resources. We'd pretty much have to live on fish and mangoes, and mango-flavored fish, but I think we could get used to it."
John hmmmd like he was seriously considering it. "They make these things called ships, and they do this thing with them called shipping. It involves transporting goods from one region to another. Perhaps you've heard of it."
Matt sighed dramatically and poked John's shoulder with one sandy toe. "You're missing the point," he said.
John moved precisely enough to flip his sunglasses up onto his head. The look on his face said it's not going to happen again, but Matt knew that John wasn't willing to trust in that anymore than he was. They could only hope that it was a good long time into the future, and dream that they had nothing better to do than nap on the beach between swims in the Caribbean Sea.
"Besides, the internet has been down the entire time we've been on the island. I thought your head was going to explode."
Matt bit back the automatic response that it wasn't the internet that was down, just their connection to it. What passed for life in cyberspace continued without him, and it would be there for him when he got back to it, whenever that was. E-mail, gaming, it all seemed less urgent than it had within the four walls of John's apartment.
"I could be a famous math recluse, fill my notebooks with equations. Like Hemingway, but with more algorithms and fewer cats."
"Hemingway wasn't a recluse, and neither are you," John said. "And you're going to get sand in your gear and you're going to bitch about it, which will totally defeat the purpose of hiding away in paradise."
Matt looked out longingly at the sparkling water that he'd nearly had to drag himself out of. "I think a place like this might be worth it," he said.
"And also I'm pretty sure that I could hack together a sat. link."