Light as a feather, she took a step off the concrete walkway. Mindful of possible discovery, her eyes glanced in all directions. Great, no one is here. I can finally do this.
Sheer excitement dared her to walk further, her heart raced from a sudden adrenalin rush… like she hadn’t experienced in years.
Gusts of wind blew a salty sea smell in her nostrils. Gulls scurried about, their loud screeches increased in volume at her approach. She threw her head back while a strong breeze overcame her. It whipped her hair about with a sudden icy chill only the fall winds could bring.
Proud and still, she stood, absorbed in the bounty of rewards the Texas Gulf Coast offered until her senses filled. A few steps closer to white caps of water licking at the sand, and her desire to return to the ocean was satisfied. Seaweed littered the area…a stringy mass of goop to avoid. Precarious, she caught her balance after a stumble on a large, hidden shell protruding from the sand. A flex of muscles and generous arch of her back helped loosen old aching joints.
Startled by the intrusion of others, her body jerked. Voices floated down concrete stairs descending a bluff onto the beach. Her ears strained, she opened her eyes wide and tried not to panic.
They’re close, whoever it is. I have to hide. Can’t let them find me. A quick scan of the area did offer relief. Hmm, yes, perfect. In a hurry, she eased herself down onto the sand behind a cluster of enormous rocks. Weary, she remained silent.
“Jack, come on, let’s wiggle our toes in the sand.”
“It’s cold out here,” he blurted and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Adventure calls,” she yelled into the wind. Undeterred, she slipped off her shoes and skipped across the water while waves swept over her ankles.
“We didn’t even bring a towel, Sherry. You’ll be a muddy mess.”
“I won’t waste our solitude here.”
Jack grabbed her into his arms and spoke in a deliberate deep voice, “frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a …hoot…about wasting this beach, either.”
“Oh, Rhett, that was not how it went in the movie.” Sherry gave her best southern accent followed by infectious laughter.
He swung her around and laughed. “Alright, we can stay, but let’s find someplace to sit down out of this cold wind.”
Jack whistled a merry tune while they strolled along.
“Yes, my de-ah,” his new southern drawl kicked in, “I bask in the exhilarated elements of our favorite rendezvous.”
Sherry threw her arms up in the air. “Enough, Mr. Twain, I can’t take anymore.”
“Okay.” He grinned. “Remember those huge rocks?”
“Do I ever.”
Arm in arm they continued until the distance between themselves and the rocks disappeared. Jack helped her sit before he sprawled out. Careful to position both their backs against the natural windbreak, each stretched their legs on the sand. Sherry leaned her head on his shoulder as they sat close together.
“I’m glad you insisted we make this trip, especially after the summer season is over. I treasure this privacy.”
“So do I, Jack. Galveston, Texas has many fond memories for me. I used to walk across the top of the seawall when I was younger. We camped here a lot in those days.”
“Your childhood and mine were are different as night and day. I grew up in the north with all the ice and snow, and now I can’t get enough of this coast.” He took a deep breath of fresh air and glanced upward. Seagulls flew in with their piercing calls and landed for a brief moment only to fly further inland. Another flock of shorebirds, the smaller sandpipers, scattered about the edge of the water on tiny legs.
Sherry sat upright. “I’ve always loved being born and raised in Houston, Texas with Galveston nearby. As a child, I’d play games with my cousins on the beach. Wow, those days were full of exciting activities and laughter and noise.” She paused, “Mom had sixteen brothers and sisters. Everyone was married and had kids. At least four or five of the families would spend the week-end here during good weather. We’d sing together around a huge bonfire at night, while the men cooked on their portable grills. Later, I was amazed when my uncles wore hip-wader boots and would simply walk out into the ocean, stand still, and fish.”
“I think it’s against the law to have bonfires or camp out here, now.”
“It is, and I noticed the signs warning not to fish off the jetties, or even stand on them.”
“What’s the jetties?”
“See the row of boulders at the shoreline that go straight out to sea for nearly a mile? Well. that is a jetty. It’s one of many in the area, and we used to climb all over them. It was not so perilous if you watched the tide. When the tide is in, waves splash water across the top of the rocks, and green algae growing there will become slimy and wet. No one can move without sliding which could prove fatal. Tides out, the wind dries the algae, and you can walk to the end of the jetties. The top surface is jagged and rough, though. You have to be careful where you step,” Sherry recalled, “but the fishing and the view are so worth it.”
“I can see why they put warning signs up.”
“Dad used to bring fresh oysters, still in their shells, home from Galveston. He would have a huge, croaker sack full, and shuck them in our garage. I was about eight years old when he taught me how to eat them raw. The first one he handed me, I swallowed, and it came back up completely whole. He laughed, and said I had to chew it up. Later, we’d dip them in a horseradish concoction to enjoy raw with crackers, and Mom refused to join us. Now, I wouldn’t dare eat oysters unless they are fried. Yum, such a treat. Yes, this place brings back a lot of good memories.” Sherry jabbered.
From the other side of the rocks, a low moan clearly sounded while a majestic cold wind thrust down upon the beach.
Sherry refrained her reminiscing and froze. “Did you hear something?”
“No, only the wind.”
“It was not the wind.”
“Okay, Miss Imagination. It was a shipwrecked sailor in distress, hanging onto a plank, eighty feet out at sea shouting for help.”
She frowned, and turned to squarely face Jack, balled her fist and promptly hit him on his arm.
“Babe, I couldn’t resist.” He grabbed, and kissed her before she realised what he was going to do.
Tide began rolling in, and a massive gust of wind covered them from head to toe with a mist of salty seawater. “Yuck,” Sherry sputtered. She stood, and attempted to wipe her face.
Jack raised his lanky self up, and looked at her. He lightly caressed his hand across her cheek. “My, you sure can talk, girl.” He smoothed the windblown hair back from her face, and held her in his arms.
Disturbed by hearing a long groan, Sherry eased away. I know what I heard, but I’m not about to tell him. “You sure can whistle. What was that tune while ago?” Sherry stood aloaf.
“Two bottles of beer on the wall, two bottles of beer, take one away…”
Sherry interrupted. “I’ve heard of it. We did something else where I grew up, the name song.”
“What in the world are you talking about? What is the name song?”
“Use my name, Sherry. It would go like this: Sherry, Sherry, boe berry, boe nana, fana, fo ferry–Sherry!”
“Man, what a song.” Jack sighed, and glanced away.
“Listen to this, we’ll sing it with your name.” Sherry rattled on.
“No, I don’t want to hear it.”
“Oh, Jack. It would be fun to sing with you, come on.”
He kicked sand into the air with his shoe, and danced his fingers across her aem. Raising his eyebrows in expectation, he lightly kissed her on her forehead. “We are all alone.” He mumbled in her ear.
“Stop it, Jack, big difference between animal instinct and real love. Someday I’ll be married, and it will be special.”
Jack cocked his head to the side and spoke slow. “You are not loose with your affections like the other girls I have dated.”
Her response was halted by another moan. “I hear it again. Jack, something is on the other side of the rocks.”
“Well, come on, let’s check it out.”
Sherry beat him around to the other side. “Oh,” she gasped, while a head rose up, and gave her a pleading look. “Oh, Jack,” Sherry whimpered, and a bark could be heard further down the beach.
“What?” He said from behind her.
“Jack, it’s a cocker spaniel. She has auburn hair, and …no collar.” Sherry gently lifted the dog into her arms.
He took the dog from her, and circled his other arm around Sherry’s waist. Distant sounds of wind chimes tinkled in the breeze and beckoned them to nearby souvenir shops.
“If we hurry, we can ride the ferry to Port Bolivar.” He smiled at Sherry and tightened his grip on the dog as it wagged its tail.