Florida Man

Untitled from Art Concrete (centerfold), Leon Tutundjian

A key word used to describe all the weird news stories related to white

Florida men [and] why people outside Florida hate Florida.

Urban Dictionary

He fell in love here as a boy in 1961. She looked to be the

same age, a first grader like him in that courtyard shared by

other rented cottages of coral pink blocks. Families of complete

strangers gathered outside during the cool evenings.

They kept to themselves at their respective picnic tables. He

took sidelong glances like small blurs of glass now held up to

no less sidelong to the sun. These he mentally arranges and

she still comes out the same: sitting bareback, straddled

across her father’s sunburnt knee. She gave no thought to

covering herself at that age. She would have lost her balance

if she did otherwise, lost her red pony, her merry-go-round

ride, the sight of her, which has remained that way in time.

(How long it took to spell the words she cried as she dug her

heels into a hairy leg. Allez hue!) He has been in love ever

since and always in side and stolen glances. Now it is one tan

line after another, unstrung along the beach before killing his

merciless idea by staring at his own: a pale white band

around his wrist, where a valuable had been worn, something

that he mindfully left behind in his room before taking another

walk on the hot sand or wading out into the surf, deciding

between here, her, or any of the other flavors there are

now. He admires how the band never fills in, that it remains

a fixed, apart, the Gulf, all around, that it is “timeless,” and

that it only means he will go back to the room and self-wind

it with a certain pleasure, and he will get the whole day back.