Life Is A Beach: A Day At The Beach

Image by M Dawn Thacker

My birthday was a day filled with beaches and sunshine. My roommate came home from work with a gift for me, wrapped so prettily in pink. Inside was Gardener’s hand cream that is sold only on the ferries and I’d mentioned to her that the next time I took the boat I was going to buy it from the gift shop. Expensive, yes, but I’m a sucker for quality skin care. Also, a packet of Gardener’s bath salts. I didn’t expect this. A lovely card:

Happy Birthday to a woman who lives life her own way… boldly, lovingly, beautifully.

And then, the two of us, dressed up and accessorized walked down to the seashore to my fave restaurant, the one my son worked his first job as a dishwasher in the ‘pit.’ We settled into a table on the patio, perfect to watch the sparkling blue water, and the car show that slowly dreamily drifts by with summer people smiling inside.

I gave her my sunglasses as she faced directly into the sun. We talked about men and work and our day. The food was divine. We lingered afterwards. I took out my cash and she shook her head and said my money isn’t any good today, my birthday. She wouldn’t allow me even to leave the tip. Unexpected and such a surprise after so many disappointments the last week. Everyone seemed to be canceling me. I was again, reminded to count only on myself.

Living so closely together and because we started as friends, meeting at Boot Camp fitness classes, we have a lot of common interests. I can’t say what I’ve taught her, but she has taught me so much in the short two months of sharing space. I learned that day, for instance, that the way to get gift tissue paper to look so pretty in a gift bag, all you have to do is twist the end and stuff that into the bag first. Simple. Mine looks like colored garbage hanging out of a bag. I try, but never quite make it look like I am a Martha Stewart graduate.

She has this classy way of accessorizing. Her casual is casual chic. I notice this and marvel at her ability to make sweat pants and a hoody look so… fashionista. Her bedroom looks like a page out of an Interior Design magazine. Every time I walk by her room I sigh at the simple beauty of her color choices and how everything has its place in her room. I have a very… creative room. Nothing has a specific place and I rarely make my bed. There are books strewn everywhere, clothes heaped and I don’t see any sense in opening up the curtains when I will just have to close them again at bedtime.

She taught me something valuable the other day after the second date she went on and knew it wasn’t working for her. She was going to call him.

“Why don’t you just send a nice email to him, Jen?”

“He deserves better than that. He’s bought me dinner once and made a beautiful dinner for me the second time. No. I have to call him.”

And she did. I caught part of the conversation and I cringed listening to the sound of someone being rejected. The call was lengthy I thought and afterwards, hours later she let me read his email. He wrote that he appreciated being told the way she did and that it was exactly what he would have expected from such a classy lady as he knew she was.

Wow. I thought guys preferred to be told via email.

I admire her for her courage in doing this and I told her so.

We walked the pier and like earlier in the day in the inner city riding my bike, my senses were flooded with faces—smiling, sad, lipsticked, crinkled and wrinkled, perfume scents—Chanel, Taboo and babies Goat’s Milk soap, wild roses—sweet like baby’s breath, salt air, aromatic hot dogs and onions frying and that pastel, rose and mauve August sky. The near full moon was visible above, a reminder of the day ending soon, like a mother in an apron at the doorway ready to call her children in. We watched a young man stand on top of the railing at the end of the pier, where the water is deep, and then jump daredevil-ish into the cold, black water. We all cheered.

On the way back it was stairs and hills, but we still kept up a conversation, puffing air accenting our words. We talked about parents, mine gone and her mother dying of cancer, but still well enough for visits. I reveal to her:

“My father died first and my mom followed two years later. He never should have died. He was only 75 years old, but smoking got him in the end. We were so… broken… so devastated by his death, all of us. So bad. So bad.”

Pause.

“My mom called me one day a year after he’d gone and I think it was Father’s Day actually. She said that dad said something about me before he died and I could tell by her voice that it was something positive but I said, no, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know! I was… afraid. I’m not sure why. Like his voice would be from the grave through her or something silly like that. I was so upset. And now I really regret that I did that.”

“So you don’t know?”

“No, I don’t and now that she’s gone now too, I never will. I regret this so much.”

Pause.

“But, you know what it is. Deep inside, you know…” she spoke reassuringly.

Pause.

“I suppose I do,” I replied, my eyes squinting at the sun.

The ocean was now far below us and we finally reached the plateau.

“I went to a Spiritualist meeting a while back with my Supervisor. They are the ones who claim to be able to connect with the dead,” I spoke again. She glanced up quickly at me. “I knew I would be picked. I just knew it. This woman started off saying, on stage,

“There’s a lot of activity up here today. Wow, so much energy. The lady in blue. Can I speak to you,” she motioned to me sitting in the third row.

I nodded, with my heart thumping so loudly in my chest.

“There are two people here on stage with me. A man and a woman. The man is not a very tall man, about as tall as the woman. Your parents I think.” She paused for agonizing moments. “They were quite a strong force when they were together on earth were they not?” I nodded. “They want to tell you that they are proud of you. And that they are so grateful that you seem to have figured it out. How to live? Is that it? Does that make sense to you?”

I nodded.

“Did that make you break up into tears, Adrienne?” Jen asked looking like she was going to any moment.

“I forget. Yes, I think it did. I don’t know how much merit I give this. But, who knows?”

We fell into deep silence the last block or two and I knew she was thinking of her parents. Her mother terminally ill and her father having survived one heart attack. I remembered meeting him weeks ago at his place on the patio of his home on the ocean front.

“We have this much life behind us,” he spoke to no one in particular. He motioned with his hands two feet apart. “And now we have this much,” and his fingers spread two or so inches. “We have to make the most of what is left.”

Moments later the Snowbirds, Canadian Forces jet pilots, soared above us in acrobatic astounding feats in the sky.

I didn’t want to interrupt her thoughts and so we continued on in this perfect day.

I realized as we approached our place that my role in helping her was going to come.

And probably soon.

 

A Day At The Beach © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read the latest Adrienne exploit on Now.readthisplease.

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2 Responses to “Life Is A Beach: A Day At The Beach”
  1. Patricia Braun says:

    Your ability to expose your soft underbelly, with a hint of nostalgia and melancholy, is truly a delight. The humility you express through this method of writing creates an allure that captivates your readers. Thanks for your gentle sense of humour, often at your own expense; you truly are uplifting and I always find myself smiling as I read about your latest adventure.

  2. Adrienne says:

    What a wonderful surprise to read your comment, Patty! Thank you so much for reading and responding.

    ~A

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