Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Encounter on the Beach (Part One)

The woman stepped over the parking barrier and onto the sand of the beach, watching as the dog ran into the surf. She could hear her husband warn her. If you let that damn dog out at the beach he will run all over and get wet and full of sand and track it into the car. Smiling, she looked out at the water, the front of her black rain coat open, her white sweater stark against its blackness, savoring the feeling of the wind on her face, smelling the sea. Her long legs were sheathed in riding togs and tall, black boots. Long, black hair flew in the wind as she stood there; erect and stiff-backed in the gusty spring wind.

Her eyes were hidden dark glasses, her lips, full and red, had set in a frown, set off by the pallor of her clear skin. The dog ran into the water and out, and then chased some seagulls around for a while before rolling on something he found at the high tide line some way down the beach.

Her cell phone rang. Once, twice, three times, then stopped. She ignored it.

Another car pulled into the parking lot, a black sport car with tinted windows, and pulled into a space several down from her white Mercedes. She did not turn to look, but continued to stare at the water. The dog stopped and looked at the car and the man who got out, then was distracted by a seagull, which he chased into the water, barking and snapping at the bird’s tail feathers. The car door closed and she turned and walked away, slowly, her long legs stiff as she walked slow, carefully placed and measured steps away.

The man walked toward her, wearing a raincoat not unlike hers, his short, sandy hair riffled by the breeze as he neared her. The coat was closed and tied, his white shirt and blue tie showing at the top, his pants a charcoal gray. He was tall, with the walk of an athlete, his mouth set in a grimace as sand slipped under his dress shoes and got into them. His blue eyes flashed as he watched the dog run in the water, and then turned back to the woman as she walked away.

She stopped as he neared and turned to face him, her legs spread shoulder width apart, and her shoulders squared, head up and attention on the man who now stopped short several yards away, uncertain whether to get closer to her.

“Hello,” he said.

She did not answer, her eyes meeting his, her expression unreadable.

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