Not a Bad Day
It wasn’t a bad day. Some will claim that any day at the beach is good. Those are people who don’t spend every day there.
But, again, it wasn’t a bad day. The sun shone all morning, as it usually does, and the afternoon sea-breeze brought its storms. One does appreciate those daily rains, the cooling of the air, and then the clearing into a night of stars, thrown against the black silk sky. Far below them, ankle-high waves softly whisper to the sand.
The Gulf is placid in summer. Once, life had been placid in this little town, but I had seen, had felt, things slowly change around me. When had I realized it was no longer the same? Maybe it hit me when they put in parking meters at the beach. Long before, though, access had become more limited, the trails I had walked as a boy were closed off as high-rises and golf courses and Northerners with money changed the landscape.
Never mind that most of my friends had been born up north. This was where I grew up and if I belonged anywhere, it was here.
Or had once belonged. Failure is failure, wherever one goes. Even if it is home.
I probably should have grabbed a nap. I would be tired at work tonight, sitting in a lonesome toll booth. It generally wasn’t a bad night, either, out there on the edge of the Everglades, listening to the frogs and the barred owls and, yes, sometimes the gators. It was a temporary job, I had told myself, and that was probably still true.
Wasn’t everything temporary, really?
Larry King would be on the overnight radio and I might or might not listen. Vehicles were few, and fewer as the night progressed. I would welcome the break in my boredom when I went in and cleaned the restrooms.
I might try to write. It never seemed very urgent when I was there. There never seemed much reason to focus.
There was still time to eat, time to get cleaned up. I didn’t need to leave just yet. I would listen a while longer to the little waves, murmuring their way around the pilings, before heading back to my trailer, out past the airport, past the industrial park.
Yes, there was still time. It wasn’t a bad day. Not a bad day at all.
Stephen Brooke ©2016
One of my 'Branford Perry' short stories---a very short one! I have like a half-dozen in more-or-less final form and will undoubtedly turn out more. And maybe a novel eventually. This would be set, as it is, in the fictional town of 'Genoa' around the early 80s...or the real town of Naples