Scene 9 Sunday Mornin’
Su awakes as the sun rises. It’s cold in the cottage and feels good to her. The feel of the beach beneath my feet would feel much better.
Pushing the covers off of her, she is careful exiting the taller bed than she has at home. She slowly sits up on the bed poking around for the floor with her toes. It’s further than she thought. She slides down the side of the bed a little bit until her feet hit the floor.
” That wasn’t so bad.”
She gives a motionless Lucky a little pat on his belly and he responds with a little twitch.
” Morning Luck,” she whispers.
Staring straight ahead clearing the fog from her eyes she sees John sleeping in the second bed snoring quietly. She smiles.
Walking out of the bedroom and into the bathroom she quickly changes into her bathing suit, a t-shirt, sun visor, shorts and sandals. She brushes her teeth, brushes her hair and takes her medicine.
She heads into the kitchen, makes a pot of coffee while taking in the beach view through the corner of the blinds from the kitchen window and pops the top on her soda.
Opening the blinds she sees everything she wants today, nothing but the beach. It’s a wonderful view, nothing but beach and the gulf, no buildings, cars, parking lots, pools. Absolutely nothing but beach and gulf.
Staring through the droplets of water on the windows from the cold indoor air and the warm humid air outside, the gulf seems dark this morning, overcast with clouds.
She scans the water for signs of dolphins and again is tricked by the buoy bouncing just offshore a couple of hundred yards away she guesses. She spots pelicans flying just above the water effortlessly, they glide then they swoop up and dive into the water where they sit swallowing their bounty. A pretty common sight she loves to watch.
Down the beach a few early risers are walking in the shoreline. She turns her attention to the choppy water again trying to find dolphins. Nothing else in the world is on her mind for a few moments. That Sanibel serenity feeling comes over her. A calm, peaceful, serene feeling. ” Ahh, — Sanibel.” She stays put holding onto this feeling enjoying it as it builds. She feels as if the beach is calling her, it’s so much better there.
She fixes a cup of coffee and drinks in down quickly, goes into the bedroom where she watches John and Lucky sleep for a moment.
” My men,” she says, as she stares lovingly at them.
She quietly reaches for and grabs her beach bag and tries to head out the door. The locks are different than those at home, they seem backwards. She fumbles with them for a few seconds figuring it out and steps out onto the deck, locking the door behind her, then begins making her way to the beach with her beach chair.
” Wish you were here … to carry this chair….” she chuckles at her rhyme.
Walking through the soft sand she sets her covered fold-up chair in the sand and situates her gear. She lotions up and starts to walk to the water.
Walking up to the shell line she takes a step and the shells dig into her feet. ” Oh ouch!… forgot about that.”
Turning around she goes back to her chair, puts her sandals back on and makes her way back across the shell line to the smooth, compact sand of the beach closest to the water .
The foamy water washes ashore hitting her at her ankles and pulls the fine sand from beneath her feet tickling her between her feet and sandals that makes her let out a laugh. She is very, very ticklish.
Letting the gentle waves massage her feet, she looks down either side of the beach and sees no one. She is completely alone. The beach is all hers for the moment.
Raising her arms like a pelican spreads its wings, she spins slowly around letting the wind wrap around her. For a brief moment in her mind she sees herself flying over the water. Gliding in the air just above the waves she swoops up getting a good look at the beach. Scanning the water she looks for something very specific…
Suddenly, a wave hits her at the knees pushing her back a little, splashing up the front of her and on her face breaking her concentration. Taking her breath away a little bit, she is again standing on the beach in the splash of the waves.
She’s not mad at the waves, she is grateful for being able to visit that place in her mind. She still loves where she is at this very moment.
Wiping away the salt water that splashed near her eyes, she looks down the shoreline looking for newly exposed shells and sees many large ones sticking up from the sand.
” It’s time,” she says.
Immediately she strolls over to the closest one. It’s a small conch shell, brown with a hint of pink. She leans over pulling it from the sand, washes it off in the waves as they come ashore and giggles.
” Sanibel Stoop!”
The small conch shell has holes in it, it isn’t in very good condition. We’ll keep this one since it’s the first one of its kind today.
Still stooped over she spots a Calico Scallop shell within reach and picks it up. “ Sanibel Scoop” These are so cool. I love the little orange stripe on it.
Standing straight up, she scans the area around her feet. From past experience she knows that the shells will come in bunches and usually if you find a shell you like, more are very near.
She spots a large Atlantic Giant Cockle. She likes the pattern of dots that run in a line-like pattern on it sideways and that it has a deep cavity she can put other shells into to carry them.
Placing her Calico Scallop in the larger shell she continues her search, picking up shells placing them in the large one, trying to get as many of one of each kind she can find.
Looking up, she notices people are making their way to the beach for a day in the hot Florida sun. She looks at the sky and sees it still has low dark clouds but is more blue than gray and the temperature is rising.
Turning around she notices she is still very close to her chair. She feels as if she has been walking for quite some time. She doesn’t put any more thought into it than that.
Making her way back to her chair, she wipes her hands of sand and sips her drink staring off into the gulf for a while.
Sitting back in her chair, she shuts her eyes taking in the sounds, smells and feel of Sanibel. The birds are chirping. She hears the distinctive cry of seagulls and other bird calls she can’t identify properly but is glad they made them.
She listens to the waves move onto the beach and recede back into the gulf in a constant but spaced, back and forth motion. She thinks of John rocking back and forth between her legs to the rhythm of the gulf.
She listens to the wind, the local foliage cutting through it with a soft and pleasant whistling sound every once in a while that seems to blend with the birds crying and chirping. She smells the gulf spray and fresh air. Detecting a faint woody smell, she can taste the salt on her lips.
She feels the sun rising higher in the sky behind her as sweat begins to bead on her skin. A long breeze of wind blows cooling her off a bit.
Grabbing her towel she wipes the sweat from her face then opens her eyes to see several brownish gray and white birds with straight beaks making their way up the beach along the edge of the waves. ” Sanderlings,” she says, pulling notes from a page in her mental notebook.
They run from the incoming waves and just as the waves begin to recede leaving sea foam on the beach they dip their bills into the sand seeking their own little treasures. They keep doing this all the way up the beach.
Watching them is intriguing to her with their short quick fluid movements. She likes how they follow the outline of the waves. So peaceful, beautiful and cute.
Standing up to take a swim, she straightens out the beach towel on the back of the chair and looks up at the cottages. She looks at the one they stayed at last time she and John were here for a couple of days and sees the outline of a couple through the French door windows having sex.
” Oh my,” Su says, raising her eyebrows with a little smile.
Su walks over the bed of shells crunching through them to the mostly clear water that has a thin foam on top, slowly inching her way deeper with her hands out. ” Ew, yah, oh oh yah… Wooh! that’s cold at first…..”
Crunching through the shells in the water she gets waste deep placing her hands on the water, she lets it swirl around her hands and begins pulling the water to her to acclimate herself to it.
She continues walking and finds smooth sand. ” Ahh, here.”
Taking off her sandals and stuffing them in the side of her bathing suit she feels around the bottom with her feet. It is smooth and cool. She keeps feeling around with her feet hoping she doesn’t step on a stingray. She feels herself drifting back, closer to the shelly bottom again and moves deeper. She can feel cold pockets of water mixed with warm water as she keeps feeling around.
” Ah hah!” Su says with a big smile. Grabbing a round rough disk with her toes, she lifts her leg and dunks her head under the water to grab it.
A wave pushes her off balance and she hops on one leg backwards into the shelly area trying to keep her balance. ” Ow! Gotta get some beach shoes.”
Su wiggles her toes and realizes she lost it. ” Darn it!”
She steps back out into the deeper water and feels around for it again, hoping it’ll be right on top somewhere. She stares down the beach while running her feet along top of the sand, the reflection of the sun’s rays off the water is getting bright and she is beginning to get overheated. She gives the water a little slap. ” Maybe next time.”
Putting her sandals on, she makes her way out of the water towards her chair when she spots the Asian couple she saw earlier walking towards her through the sand.
The young Asian woman in a really skimpy bikini is laughing and giggling pulling the older Asian man who is dressed in long pants, long sleeved shirt carrying a drink in a glass by his pocket towards the beach.
As they approach her, Su says under her breath, ” no glass on the beach.”
” Mind your own business,” Xaioling says with a scowl.
” If it breaks, someone might get cut pretty bad. Please, I’ll take it back up for you, I’m on my way back up there now,” Su says as nicely as she can, considering Xaioling’s disposition. The man hands the drink to Su and gives a little bow. Then Xaioling pulls him towards her walking to the water giggling.
It’s just common sense, she thinks to herself.
Filling the glass with a handful of sand and shells from a nearby mound of shells, she grabs her towel and bag and walks up the path to the cottages, placing the glass on the deck of the couple’s cottage.
A couple of middle aged women on their way to the beach walk by, smile and wave to her as she walks across the path towards her cottage. She returns their gesture. ” Hi, hello.”
Su walks up the path to the cottage, looks at the shower they couldn’t figure out how to turn on and notices a valve lever she didn’t see before. ” That’s it.” She stoops down lifting the lever and the water from the large showerhead sprays her, catching her by surprise. ” Coold! Hoo ah.” She reaches for the patio post to support herself and washes the sand from her feet and arms, then rinses her face to cool off. ” I like that,” she says taking mental notes of the type of showerhead it is.
She steps onto the patio, pulls the shells and sunscreen out of the bag and places them in the shade of the table umbrella. The sunscreen for John when he comes out.
Unlocking the door and entering the cottage, she looks into the bedroom on her way to the couch and sees Lucky still sleeping on one bed and John on the other.
She sits down on the couch staring out the three large windows at the beach as she cools herself down in the air conditioning.
Copyright © 2012 by John Edward Petersen