Next to the humanoid seagull lay pieces of fried Oreos, almost New York Pizza crust, and the spilled liquids of last night. Dawn on Sunday in Atlantic City was a spectacle to behold, the new born sun warming the cold hearts of heteronormative men and signaling the city it was time to repair itself.
A groups of kids, better said teens, walked on the old imperial wood. Rocking washed out shorts, holed tees, and broken shoes, they were the silent disruption to the calm. These were the “Board Walkers”, the residents of the city that came and went, invisible to those eating their expensive breakfast on balconies, the overachievers who ran while hungover (or not), and the tourists whose cameras always seemed to miss them (a true oddity as they were always on the boardwalk). Their strolling pace was seemingly timeless, as every year the same bodies would walk the boardwalk, only with different faces.
Stepping on broken glass like their hopes, moving up and down was their way to see tomorrow. The dirty sand mirrored their lives, unable to blossom between lifeless atoms and cigarette butts. The shut doors of the parlors and even the palm readers were familiar sights to them, as every door seemed to always be shut, be it those of their schools or those of the rich. But between them was brother and sister love, tugging at dreams and bitter fruits.
The teens, from end to end, saw it all. From the highest tower to the kid from New York (whom they always envied), their eyes were library size. The minds before 20 had volumes in them, able to tell you which psychic was real and which was fake (because some were real, as unbelievable that might sound). They knew the best pizza, and the cheapest, and could weave their way between every casino, every hoodie shop, and every secret room (save for the one in the highest tower). Being invisible came with currency, and thats (almost) all they had.
As the sun rose and began to pass its adolescence, becoming unfamiliar to the Board Walkers, the teens added a new book to their collective Alexandria. A woman sat at a table, blazed in oceans, hair curly and whole. The kids had seen her, but it was not her as she was. Her skin, brown, deep, scarred, was christened with a regality the kids had never known. They even went back a hundred years to their ancestors to see if they knew her, but they didn’t. One of the teens, a girl, with the same skin and hair, approached her, but stopped, doubting their kinship.
“Hi there. I like your necklace.” The Ocean Woman, as they would call her now, had a voice serene. She reminded the kids of a realer Beyonce.
Never had a King or Queen walked the boardwalk, let alone speak to a Board Walker.
The teens smiled. Someone finally saw them.