Scene 17 – Mon. Day 2
Mon. Day 2
Su watches John as he makes his way down the beach picking up shells. She pays attention to the way he moves slowly with a slight limp. Each time he picks up a shell she hopes it’s a Junonia. She also hopes that he is enjoying himself.
Shifting in her beach chair she sits back as Lucky looks around with his nose in the air. She wonders if she’ll see the woman who resembles her mother today. Then quickly her thoughts fade to simply being and enjoying the moment for some time.
Lucky stands up looking around and lays his head on Su’s knee. ” Hey buddy.” Lucky sits and raises one paw. ” You ready to go in buddy? We have been out here for a while.” Lucky pants and gives her a little lick on the knee. ” All right let’s go get Dad and tell him.”
Su gets up from the chair slowly making her way down the beach with Lucky, towards John who still has his back to them. She sees him sit down. ” There’s Dad, right there.”
Su walks, waving her hand trying to get John’s attention. John doesn’t see her. She continues walking, picking up shells as she tries to catch up with him. He’s a lot further away than I thought.
After walking a couple of hundred yards, Su stops and sits on the bank with Lucky resting next to her.
She sees John turn around and start walking towards them. He is moving much faster coming back than he did going down the beach and she is relieved.
She rests as she watches him make his way up the beach, walking out into the water, dipping his shell net, checking it, then moving until he sees something else. He follows this pattern of shelling, every once in while chasing after what it is he’s after, sticking shells in his pockets as he comes closer to her and Lucky.
John looks up and Su waves her arm trying to get his attention again, but as she waves, a young couple enjoying the beach also, blocks his view and he cannot see her.
She sees John find a pooled area and bend over the water looking and figures, now is a good time. He won’t be moving around much. Maybe I can get his attention somehow so I don’t have to walk as far. He’s still pretty far away. I don’t know if my back can hold out that long, how is his?
John chases shells in the tide as Su walks towards him hoping he’ll see Lucky. He snatches up a shell that is tumbling in the water, lifts the net, sifts the sand out of the net in the water and is happy to find a Lightening Whelk shell. He checks the elongated pointy shell to make sure nothing is in it. Placing it in his left hand pointy side down, one of his fingers fits in it well. He admires the stripes on it. Holding it in the air against the sky background, he smiles. ” Su will like this one.” Placing the shell in one of his baggy leg pockets and pressing the hook and loop snaps together so it won’t break or get lost, he looks up and sees Su.
A couple in front of her is blocking the view of Lucky. Then he sees Lucky emerge from behind them, go to a wave and start biting at it.
John smiles, waves and starts walking towards them at a quick pace, finally reaching them.
” Thank God, I was about to turn around,” Su says with relief.
” What happened?”
” Nothing. Lucky wanted to go in but I wanted to tell you so you didn’t worry. So I started walking toward you figuring I could catch up with you, then I got tired and you kept getting farther away, then I had to stop. I was just about to turn around when you saw us.”
” I’m sorry. I was nose to the Alphabet Cone, so to speak,” John says, feeling kind of bad.
” I know, I’m not mad. But I am real tired now,” she says.
” Well let’s sit down a minute,” he suggests.
John walks over to her and sits in a shallow pool of water at the surf line that is filled with shells that are laying in deep cuts in the sand. Su sits close to him on a ledge of sand with her feet in the pool of water. Lucky sits next to her.
” Oh God, my legs and back hurt so bad. Could you give Lucky some of this water?” she asks.
” Yeah, you ok?” he asks, concerned.
” Phew, yes. I just need to rest for a minute I’ll be ok,” she says, wiping the sweat from her face.
” Pour it into my hands. Two hands make a better cup,” he tells her as he holds his hands out in a cup shape.
Su pours water into them. Holding the water, he offers it to Lucky by putting it out in front of him. Lucky sniffs his hands and takes a couple of licks of water, licks his chops and looks the other way. John drops the little bit of water in his hand and tells Su to do it again. Su pours more water into his hands again. He offers it to Lucky. Lucky sniffs but does not want any more water. Lucky pulls his head away, looks back and forth between them, then turns his attention to activity on the beach.
John rinses his hands in the salty water then reaches in his pocket pulling out the Lightning Whelk. ” Hey looky here.”
” Ohh, that’s a nice one! Did you know that they are the only Florida shell that is left handed?”
” What? I didn’t see no hands,” he says laughing, “ Yeah, I had to chase this booger, I thought it was going to get away.”
“ Ha!” Su laughs, as she reaches into her shell net pulling out a much larger one and hands it to him.
” Wow! Look at that one. Nice find!” he says.
” Thanks. It’s so beautiful here,” she says, looking around almost in a daze.
” Have you looked back yet?” he asks.
“ No, I’m trying to stay in the moment.”
John smiles and shakes his head. ” No, I mean have you looked back at the landscape from the water?”
” Ohh — yeah every time we go in,” she says smiling.
” Kinda reminds me of a remote island somewhere,” he says.
” Well … it is,” she states.
John chuckles, “ Yeah, I reckon it is. While I was down there I looked at it from the water and forgot that there is a lot more to the beach than looking out to the water. I’ve never had a boat so I guess my view has always been looking out, not really appreciating the beauty of the view from the water to the land,” he says.
” I don’t know, I always look at the landscape when I come in from the beach.”
” I think I mostly look at the sand and to wherever it is I need to go to, not really the whole picture,” John says.
” But I saw it today and it is really eye opening,” he says
” I would spend the rest of my life here if I could,” Su says.
” Well — why don’t we try to find a way,” he asks.
” Let’s try to find a way back to the cottage first. My back and legs are killing me and I think Lucky wants to go back in, he’s why we came down here in the first place.”
Standing up and walking up the beach, they make their way towards the chair, talking as they go.
” Alright. You know what time it is?” he asks.
” No, maybe two or three o’clock.”
” Ew almost dinner time, you hungry?”
” For steak? I’m always hungry,” she says with a grin.
” Oh yes, steak and grilled veggies. Mmmm!” he says, agreeing with her.
” And taters,” she says.
” And taters, yes — oh! — that means we have to wait,” he says, kind of disappointed they can’t eat sooner.
” We have to wait on the grill too. When we get back I’ll start the taters then it won’t be long before we can start the grill,” she says.
” Alright. I was gonna go shelling the other way, but it can wait, it is pretty hot out here.”
” Very hot, look at my feet,” Su says, pointing to her sunburned feet.
John looks at her feet and they look scorched. ” Oh ouch! It hurt?”
” No not really. Look at yours.”
John looks down at his feet and they are redder than hers. ” Uh oh,” he says.
” Does it hurt?” she asks.
” No … crap!, but it’s going to. That is going to peel like a bitch,” he says, staring at his feet in disbelief.
” Probably start hurting when we take a shower,” she says.
” Good thing we’re no strangers to the sun.”
” You never go out without shoes,” she says.
They reach the chair and pack up the towels and grab the beach bag. ” I go outside to walk Lucky on the side of the house without shoes all the time, ” he tells her.
” I didn’t know that.”
” Yeah I’ve been doing it for years.”
” I think I had it stuck in my head that you said you wouldn’t go out without shoes because you stepped on a broken vase once and cut yourself pretty bad.”
” Ouch!” John yells in pain.
Su looks at him in a worried manner thinking he hurt himself, ” you ok?”
” Yeah, it hurts just thinking about it. Phantom pains I guess they call it. Yeah that one hurt, cut through arteries in my feet, I can still feel it every so often if I step on it right.”
” Which foot?”
” That might be part of the reason your back is the way it is,” she guesses.
” Yeah, it did make me walk a little funny after it happened,” John says, thinking about the pop he heard when the vase broke through his skin and his leg went limp.
” Grab the chair” she says.
” I thought you said…” John says with a confused look on his face.
” I’m not coming back out today,” Su replies.
John gives Su another confused look.
” Not to sit in the chair. Of course I’ll come back out for the sunset,” she explains.
” Oh ok, had me worried there for a minute.”
” Oh, you don’t have to worry about that, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Su points at something, then runs her finger back and forth. John looks at what she’s pointing at but can’t figure out what she is trying to say.
” The landscape.”
John refocuses his eyes and sees the larger picture of the landscape and smiles.
“ Thank you,” he says to her.
“ Welcome,” she says with a little smile, feeling good about reminding him to look up.
They get everything packed up and walk back the way they came, through the soft sand roped pathway.
John stops and places an extra Calico Scallop shell on one of the rope posts, then catches up to Su on the shell drive.
Su looks over at the unit they stayed in last time again but does not say what she saw earlier.
Approaching their patio deck they see they have new neighbors and wave to them with chair, beach towels, beach bags, nets and Lucky in hand.
John and Su drop the heavier items on the patio deck then head over to the shower to rinse off. Su does a complete rinse from head to toe and John rinses the shells and his feet with the overspray from the shower.
John turns on the hose and rinses Lucky off from his chest down. Lucky shakes the water off getting it all over the both of them.
” Oh no,” Su says trying to shield herself.
“ I got no hairs. You?” John asks.
” No, glad I’m still in the water though.”
John laughs, ” What? You don’t like getting sprayed with sweaty dog water?”
” No not really.”
Lucky shakes again.
” Lucky!” Su yells.
John chuckles and helps Lucky up the stairs where he dries him off with a towel while playing towel games with him. ” Phew you smell like wet dog.”
Lucky looks up at him and bites at the towel, playfully growling. John scrubs his face dry then throws the towel across his back. Lucky pulls it off and shakes it.
” Frisky,” Su says watching him.
” I’ll stay out here with him until he dries off enough to go inside,” John says.
” All right, I’ve got to go in and sit on the couch. I’ll take care of this stuff later.”
John looks around and sees she is talking about a laundry basket full of fresh towels. ” Hey, where’d that come from?”
” Oh, that’s how they do housekeeping. They don’t come in. We put our dirty towels and linens in that basket and set it out on the deck. In the morning they come by and replace them with clean ones for us,” she explains.
” Interesting,” he says. He’s never had that kind of room service before and he feels humbled by it.
Su nods and goes inside. Lucky tries to follow her but John holds him back by the leash. “Nah buddy, stay out here with Dad til you dry off some.” Lucky sniffs the door, sits and whimpers a little bit.
” It’s all right buddy it won’t be long. Come’ere.” John says, feeling bad for him.
John pours him a fresh bowl of water and lays out a towel for Lucky to lay down on. Lucky drinks half the bowl of water and sits next to John leaning against him, panting and looking for Mom to come back out.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen