Friday, April 25, 2014

still singing

We jumped up from the supper table and thundered down the stairs.
Jacket, scarf, camera.......
My sister and I raced for the beach and the setting sun.
Hooray, the tide was out.
We were surrounded by sand wet and wide.
Sand rippled like the shell of a peanut, or cantaloupe peel, or like row after row of ocean wave cast in relief under our feet.

The setting sun stayed stubbornly behind a low bank of cloud but the water reflected a molten silver light.
Gray and silver all around.
On the boardwalk, people drifted by in pairs or little groups, snatches of conversation forming strange stories.
The air was chill and fresh.

As darkness crept near, lights went on.
At first, down the beach and then closer and closer.
The long wharf lit up just as we turned our backs to it and picked our way towards the parking lot.
Soon, fairy lights twinkled in the dark branches of the trees along the street.
I hated to leave.

Warm light and laughter and music were on the evening air.
We headed for the nearest shop selling coffee to go.
Ice-cream and specialty drinks, the sign said.
Warm light and music were here too, and laughter.
The ice-cream man sang as he worked.
Little snatches of jazz.
A swirl of ice-cream and harmony.
Back and forth he danced.
Singing and serving.

We were the last ones in line.
It was only then that my eyes took in the sign on the counter.
Cash Only.
Oh oh.
I had traveled light.

'Do you live nearby he asked?'
Well, no worry, I could pay when I was back that way again, he assured me.
He made a special drink for my sister. Carefully he swirled cream atop the steaming cup.
He urged me to try extra chocolate in mine, and swirled cream atop my drink as well, and then added more chocolate.
The twinkling light, the dark night, the music and kindness...we were surrounded and warmed.
He was still singing when we left.

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