There was a time, not that long ago, when a woman named Claire and her partner Will rented the small space in front of their modest, well located home to the pumped up Fourth of July crazies who were never sober or quiet, but always decked out in red, white and blue.
From the stale bed of Shillsdale Nursing Home, Claire continued to think about Will’s unforgettable crooked smile, his insistence on being polite to the kids, and the way he always danced when he wore that stupid top hat.
The earth and the sea seemed to pause as Allie approached the cut off spectre of, well… where…. and for some reason she couldn’t shake the thought of something called Dock 19.
As the giant grey spotted sea bird circled Brigadoon to locate the drop point, Allie remembered a seated, cordial man when she first arrived at that mysterious shore… humungous table… yes, yes… Shill was his name.
…and suddenly there he was, the mystical and lost Buddy Bolden; cornet on lips, Boller slightly forward, yet upon you… and a sly, slick sound most couldn’t and would never be able to describe, until later… Allie’s dreaming eyes rolled beneath her wind burned lids and thoughts inevitably turned to that god forsaken beach table.
The enormous spotted gray sea bird continued cruising only inches above the ocean line toward the place that she, Zenobia, had long ago proclaimed Brigadoon… preparations had once again begun.
She hadn’t thought about it earlier, but her cough, in her retreat, returned… quite harsh, with an uncomfortable amount of crimson… then she jumped upon the table wearing worn jeans and a ripped cotton t-shirt, both completely dry from the wavy grass.
She put her tightened hands over her head, crouched to a fetal position, and scrunched her eyes closed, as tight as she knew, before she felt the beast breathing vomit into her ear.
What Allie Carraig then experienced was something most wish they could one day know, or at least approach… an awakening of sense and spirit, life and feeling… at that moment (she figured it was just another headache) her eyes finally unrolled into a less painful semblance of focus.
The boots were getting soaked as the tide continued to be playful, splashing in and out, laces floated; and her well worn footwear filled with salty beach and leftover moonshine… then the gigantic bird stepped forward and screamed.
(Aahh…phee..ohhh… phhhhhh… ooffffgg.. aaaa.. phphphhhhh) with her heart fiercely pounding and breath pulling itself from her lungs, Allie fell upon the slick beach… wet shoreline oozed up between her pruney, grasping fingers when she breathlessly slammed her hands straight down.
Allie stood, then quickly crouched, not because she felt an intense flood of shame in her nudity, but because she clearly saw something round and colorful on that giant table that seemed to govern the top of the beach… the top near the wavy, warm grass.
Everlong friends, sipping rectory found tea at bible study on Tuesday night, reminding her that peacefulness is driven by an inner majesty that blocks the pain.
In the end, cold Bristol snow flurries gave way to an alert 87 year old that had seen a thing or two, maybe three; wanting to shake hands with anyone who had the compunction to see her as something more than a small dot on an equally small map.
Over the years she grew to be the doyen of the Tuesday night crochet crew, which helps explain the homegrown red roses that were promptly placed at the old wood fence when two prom kids failed to navigate the corner last June.
As three generations of family were en route to celebrate her ninety years, a worn but aware Mrs. Rothschild looked out a spotless kitchen window and lost breath at the new chain link fence that overnight had become a horrifying cliche.