Scene 10 Sunday Afternoon
Lifting her pony tail staring out the windows at the tranquil beach setting, Su is beginning to cool off.
Taking a sip from her glass of soda, she glances around the room and finds a magazine that has local restaurant, Sanibel vacationing resorts and shopping ads in it. Quickly thumbing through it she finds a picture of a Junonia shell and smiles.
She gets up with the magazine in hand and makes her way over to John who is still sleeping. She notices a few bug bites on him.
” Wake up baby.”
John is startled and lurches back in bed.
” I’m sorry, I forgot,” she says kindly.
John focuses and sees Su. ” Oh, hey babe. Happy Sanibel.”
Su smiles. ” Get up and come shelling with me… please.”
John wipes the sleep from his eyes. ” I’m up, coffee?”
” It’s a few hours old, I’ll make a fresh pot.”
” Pour me a cup first.”
Su heads into the kitchen while John gets up and pours him a cup of the old coffee. She places it in the microwave heating it up for him, then quickly makes a fresh pot of coffee and waits while sitting on the couch staring out the window at the beach.
John steps out of the bathroom in his sandals, shorts, a t-shirt and fishing hat with large bill that has a neck drape and looks at Su and asks, ” ready?”
She holds up the magazine and shows John the page with the Junonia on it. John focuses on the lobster that’s on a plate in an ad. ” Mmm lobster!”
Su looks at the page thinking she was mistakenly showing him the wrong page and sees the ad herself. Beside the picture of the Junonia there is a lobster on a plate. She smiles and pushes the magazine playfully at him.
” Bum, You know I’m talking about the. The Junonia!” John smirks, ” Oh yeah, that’s a nice one huh?”
” Yes, you remember, don’t you?”
” Of course I do, you don’t eat lobster.”
“I’m sorry baby. Right!, the Junonia, Let’s get lookin’.”
Su smiles and transfers the microwaved coffee to a thermal cup and adds 1.5 sugar and 1.5 cream to the thermal cup.
John walks into the bedroom and helps Lucky off the bed and takes him outside for his morning business, then brings him back in. Lucky lays down on the blankets in front of the window.
John reaches under the kitchen counter for the old familiar treat jar and gives Lucky his mint Lucky treats.
” Special ones this time buddy. These are minty fresh, they help with that wonderful breath you have and sooth your stomach.”
Su hands John the coffee mug and he sips half the cup down quickly.
Lucky sniffs and eats the treats licking up any crumbs that fell.
” Mmm that’s good. You make good coffee,” he says as he walks over to the coffee pot and fills the rest of the cup with fresh coffee.
” Ok, ready. Where’s the goo? You know how me and the sun get along.”
” Out on the table.”
” Watch the house buddy we’ll be right back,” John says. John nods and follows Su outside to the deck. Lucky puts his ears back a little, snorts and lays his head down rubbing one of his ears and face with his paw.
” Key?” John asks.
” Yep, got us our own keys. You know, for when we go out at different times.”
” Cool, yeah that’ll be better than waiting around for each other and all that.”
” That’s what I was thinking, it’s just easier all around.”
Su hands John a key with a blue tag on it and he puts it on a chain he wears around his neck that has a squirrel call on it. He puts the key into the lock and has a hard time locking it.
Su sees him wrestling with the door and quickly steps toward him before he breaks the key off in the door. His hands are still quite strong.
” Here, it sticks and kinda needs a push, like this.” Pushing on the door with her shoulder and twisting the key forward then back, then forward again, she locks the door quickly.
” Very nice!… You’re a real fart smeller,” he says jokingly.
Su smiles, ” funny you mention that,” and farts real loud.
They both start laughing. John covers his nose with his shirt and moves away from the area.
” Whaat? they don’t stink,” Su says laughing. ” Oh no, they smell like a breath of fresh ocean air. ” She slaps him as they both laugh.
John grabs the lotion from the table sticking it in one of his pockets and they make their way through the dunes to the beach.
Standing on a dune overlooking the beach they start looking for shelling spots and see several turtle nests corded off with stakes and yellow tape. ” Turtle nesting season I reckon, ” John mentions. ” I didn’t even notice them til now,” Su says.
” How long did you spend out here?” John asks. ” Oh I don’t know, all morning.”
” Find any cool shells?”
” A few, found some pretty ones, then I started picking up one of everything, then … well you know how it goes.”
” I didn’t have anything to really carry them in, so I didn’t get a whole lot.”
” These shorts have lots of pockets, that’s why I brought them. So pick to your heart’s desire,” he says nicely.
Su smiles and hugs his arm.
” Hey, you never gave me my morning kiss.”
John stops, turns to Su hugging her and gives her a kiss. ” Mornin’ Baby.”
Su smiles. ” That’s better. Morning … I feel so good being here.”
John looks around, ” yeah, this is great.”
Putting his face in the wind he lets it blow across his face. A fisherman, he can smell a hint of fish in the air. ” They’re spawning.”
Su looks at him, ” I don’t like thinking of it that way. It’s just the ocean breeze.”
” Sorry it’s the fishing thing, it’s sorta like Sanibel, once it’s in yer blood you never really get it out. It kinda sticks with you everywhere you go.”
” Mm K.”
” Ahem, So, which way do we go?” he asks.
” I went that way, this morning, let’s go this way for a while.”
” Alright, this way it is.”
John pulls out his cigarette case looks at the design of the Junonia on it. Proudly showing Su the case, she sees the design of the Junonia.
” You did a really good job on that, I like it.”
” Yeah? … Thanks.”
” Really good.”
” Thank you,” John says, feeling good about it.
Looking around the beach they start walking, scanning the ground making their way towards a bow in the beach that is just before a point that sticks out further than the rest of the beach.
” How about up there to that point?” John asks.
” I’ll try, but my back is starting to hurt. I don’t know how far I’ll be able to go. Remember, we have to walk all the way back too.”
” The shells get trapped in and around areas like that,” John say s hoping to coax her into going further.
” I’ll walk with you for a little while longer, I’m ok for now.”
” You just let me know, I’m here for ya. “ With ya,” John says.
” I know you are, I love you.”
They walk along the beach slowly looking for their shell treasures for a couple of hours and sit down to rest on the bank of the beach looking for shells in the immediate area while taking it all in.
” My feet are killing me, my heels,” John says.
” I think I’m going to head back in a few,” Su replies.
” Sounds good to me, besides Lucky is probably missing us.”
” Probably has to go out too.”
John stands up, knocks the sand off his butt and hands and helps Su up and she knocks the sand off her butt and hands. John knocks some sand off her butt for her.
” Sandy,” she says. ” Booty!” he says playfully. They both laugh as they make their way back to the cottage picking up shells along the way. As they get closer to their cottage John seems lost. ” How do we tell where we are? He asks.
” I don’t know, somewhere this way, we can see the cottage from the beach.”
“ Any landmarks? We’ve had our head in the sand so to speak. We might have walked right by it.”
“ I don’t think so … Oh wait! … I left my chair out there. Find the chair…..”
” You left your chair out on the beach? What if someone steals it?”
” Nobody is gonna steal it, this is Sanibel. I’ve been coming here for years and nobody messes with other people’s things here, at least not so far.”
” Oky doky then. Find the chair.”
John looks around the landscape of the island and sees a large patch of Australian Pines that remind him of the Australian Pines that lined the outer perimeter of the fair at the fairgrounds when he was a kid.
He has a quick memory flash of pulling into the shell rock parking lot with friends and parking near the trees where he could hear the noises from the activity inside the fairgrounds. The rides were going, the clown was on his microphone making fun of people. People were laughing and screaming. Bells and whistles were sounding from the games and rides. He could smell the whole pigs roasting over the fire pits and he could smell the sweet smells of candy, nuts, caramel and candy coated apples. And elephant ears with powdered sugar on them. MM mm MM!
And as quickly as the memory came, it was gone.
Looking along the beach he doesn’t see Su’s beach chair. They walk a bit further. Su points to a dune. ” There it is.”
John looks, ” I don’t see anything.”
” See those two palm trees pointing at the sun?”
John looks, ” two palm trees pointing at the sun. Yeah, how do you know those are the right ones?”
” See that little bit of tiki hut sticking out?”
” Yeah kinda.”
” That’s one of the tiki huts near the cottage.”
” Ok then. There’s got to be something else, that’s too hard to spot. Lemme see,” John says feeling a bit unsure.
John looks around the area for a more definitive marker, one that is easier for him to identify with. ” There. Those trees. The ones with the chopped tops. Chopped top trees.”
Su looks and sees them, ” Hey, if that works for you. I just use those palms and the tikis. And I kind of remember that building over there,” she states.
John looks over and sees a dark gray condominium that looks like it has several units in it paneled with wood siding. He thinks its wood, it could be another material. The distinctive horizontal lines across the building is enough to set it apart for this particular area.
” Alright, there we go. Man, we walked pretty far huh?” he asks.
” Yeah, that’s what I was talking about when I said we had to walk back too.”
John nods and they make their way to Su’s chair. Packing it up and toting it to the cottage deck, they wash their feet off at the hose.
” How come we brought the chair in,” John inquires.
“ It’s ok to leave it out there in the day time, but it might get in the way of the turtles at night,” she says.
” Good enough for me.”
” And at night someone might steal it.”
” But I thought you said.”
” It’s dark a t night, so yeah, someone might steal it. Leave me alone,” she says.
” Yeah yeah, ok. I got it. I’ll behave. What we doin’ for dinner?”
” Dunno yet. We have got to go to the store. Wanna go to The Bubble Room?”
“ Yeah sure, sounds good. Let’s stop at that hot sauce place first,” he says with a smile.
“ Ok, let’s get cleaned up and take Lucky for his walk. If we can, I wanna catch the sunset.”
” I don’t know what time it is, do you wanna wait?” he asks.
” It’s still pretty early, we’ve got plenty of time.”
Su hands John the hose, places her handful of shells on the table and goes inside. John rinses off his feet, empties his pockets of shells and rocks onto the table, examining them while Su takes a shower.
Picking through the shells he picks up two of them holding them side by side. They are rough, have dark brown tiger like stripes against a whitish background and shaped like wings.
” Eww, lots of Turkey wings. You guys are lucky tonight, we’re going out to eat,” he says with a dry sense of humor.
Standing up from the lawn chair and placing the shells on the table side by side in a winged shape, he heads inside to get cleaned up. From the door he looks back at the shells on the table, ” Gobble gobble.”
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen