Cole and I will never be true Islanders, but when we see each other now we are Islanders in our own way. We were both born in upstate New York, and we both worked as reporters at the Gazette right out of college. I was a year ahead of him, so I took the job and left after a year, then told him to apply. I think he stayed a little longer than I did and hung around the Cape after, but eventually the housing market wore him out too.

I saw Cole in Ithaca a few weeks ago at a bar that caters mostly to adults in a college town, and he came in wearing a red beret his mother used to wear. He’d been angry at me earlier in the day when I tried to get out of this meeting yet again, but he gave the usual wave when he walked in and sat down and mumbled greetings — and we were fine.

We talked about the stories he was working on; I talked about work. He ordered a drink and complained that it was too strong. He said he was tired of talking to the old men at the health club where he swam. We talked a little about the Island like we always do. I said I saw Annie on Facebook, and he said he kept in touch with some people on the Island too. He’s better at it than I am; I said Kelly and I might go back to visit in the fall. It’s been 15 years since our honeymoon.

Cole and I never worked together, but I bombed out in upstate the year after I moved off the Island and came back to see if the Gazette would pick me up again. Cole met me at Captain Kidd’s in Woods Hole. I had a favorite table back by the windows where I could have a beer and look out at the water. Cole told me about the Gazette, and I told him about the rednecks I’d been working with at the golf course getting high and grounding the fairway mowers in the swamp off the back nine.

I got a job with Adam Cab. I’d sit at the airport and wait for customers and eat candy bars and listen to the Mets on the radio. They were good that year. I got paid in cash and lived upstairs in the house Cole was staying in; the landlord he shared the house with was in France for a few months. Cole told me to keep a low profile and be ready to leave. He wasn’t sure when she was coming back.

We spent a lot of time together, but I can’t remember what we talked about. We didn’t have much to worry about besides paying the phone bill and meeting up with people Cole knew and going to the beach. I remember the whole Island glittering so brightly I could barely look at it.

We went to South Beach the first week I was there and played Frisbee with Cole’s friends from the Cape. We took outdoor showers at the house and bought beer and sat up listening to music on the porch. I drove wedding parties around the Island in the cab and tried to keep the drunks out of the front seat. Cole went to his meetings and morning press runs at the Gazette. One day we rode our bikes around the Island and went to Humphrey’s and ate gobblers. It was September by then, hot and clear. I remember the sunlight getting lower through the trees.

After a month, Kelly came to visit, and when she walked into the Captain’s I knew I wouldn’t be on the Island long. She stayed a few days and went back to Auburn. Cole said the landlord might be coming back soon, and I should start looking for places to rent. Nothing full time was opening up at the Gazette, but they had a couple freelance ideas.

A couple mornings after that I woke up and stuffed everything into my bag and left a roll of cash on the kitchen table with a note that said, “Thanks man, this is for the phone bill.”

Then I put the truck on the Katama and watched the Vineyard Sound rolling by. And that was it. Goodbye Vineyard.

This summer Kelly and I took the kids to Marco Island on the southwestern edge of Florida’s Gulf coast. We lived the condo life for a week and decided by the end that we couldn’t do it again. The condo people weren’t very friendly, and the island was with packed with cookie-cutter houses and sandstone mini malls. What’s the point in driving that far to see something we can see in Syracuse?

We got in the water though. That’s all you have in Florida. The Gulf was almost too warm, but the salt felt good in my beard and on my skin. The red tide had hit north and south of Marco, but it hadn’t yet gotten to the island, so I took the boys fishing off the beach. We went out after dinner and cast along the shore and watched the gulls diving to inspect our lures. The boys got bored when it got dark and ran off to the pool with their friends, and I took a few steps out further. I hadn’t been in the water, fishing, in a long time. I stopped casting for a minute and watched the shadows and lightning across the Gulf.

I thought of the first time I’d ever fished in the surf, tiptoeing out at Squibnocket in the dark with the whole wild Atlantic in front of me. I remembered the cold and the first time I felt something pulling back out of the blackness. I wished I could remember more.

The warm Gulf water lapped up at my chest and pulled me back. I looked around at the condos laid like blocks up and down the coast and reeled in and walked out of the water.

Kelly was at the pool with the kids.

“Catch anything?”

I shook my head. No.

“You know,” I said. “We should go back to the Island.”

Bryan Chambala is the communications director at Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y.