Fourth November Blog
Part Two of
Mary fumbled in her bag for her Iphone. She never went anywhere without her bag sittng across her body. One more sign that she was getting older, maybe not wiser, but certainly noticing the years slipping behind! Her hand shaking, she moved objects around in the cavernous interior without looking, but found only her lipstick, compact, a couple of tissues and sundry odds and ends. No phone!
‘Pull yourself together’, she told herself in a croaky voice. ‘Since when have you been scared of strange things?’ Since I got older,, she thought. Age makes you fragile. Especially when you are alone. It makes you think how easily it could happen to you. What could happen, flitted briefly through her mind?
Finally, Mary remembered she had put her phone in an inside pocket. You never knew when some gang of youths might accost you, grab your expensive phone and leg it. They would go for the bag first, she knew that. They often did, according to the local newspaper. Cities were no longer the sole recipients of gang vandalism. It had spread to the coasts and country villages.
Pulling the lapels apart, she delved into her inside jacket pocket, reaching for her phone. Dialling for the Police, Mary tried to compose herself. “Yes, yes, a hand.” She answered more questions, them closed her phone, suddenly aware of a snuffling sound beside het on the sand.
Yip. Yip. A wet nose and gritty muzzle shoved itself into her face. She turned and the small dog leapt all over her in its eagerness to be friends.
“Connie! Connie!” A masciline voice called from further down the beach where Mary had come ftom. “Come back you silly mutt!”
Mary cuddled the dog, gently trying to extricate it from her top half. It got in the way as she struggled to her feet. “Down, down,” she said as she pushed the dog down and brushed her clothing.
“Hello there,” shouted the man. Puffing, he closed the gap. “Is she annoying you? Down Connie, you little rascal. All that training gone to pot! I am sorry if she bothered you Miss.” As he spoke, he bent down, grabbed the dog and put her back on the lead.
“No, no, she’s fine,” replied Mary, still a little flustered. “As a matter of fact, she is just what the doctor ordered.”
The man straightened and looked at her, curiosity brimming in his face. “May I ask why?” he queried, giving Connie a chuck under the chin as she jumped up in eagerness.
“Don’t go near it, but there is a hand buried by the stairs there.”
“What do you mean? A dummy hand?”
“Well, I was too shocked to really look properly, but it looks like a real hand to me.” Thinking about the hand again, Mary began to shake all over.
“Oh, you poor thing. I am sorry. Here, I know I am a stranger to you but, when in need?” He held his arms wide, closing the slight gap between them and, with no sudden movement, genly enfolded her to him. Mary slid into that enveloping warmth, that comforting stance, and the tears just flowed.
“I …I’m sorry,” she blurted out. “I’m not usually so vapid. Quite strong, really,” she added between sniffs.
“Never you mind. I’m Randolph, by the way. Rand to my friends, such as they are.” It was an aside comment, for a lot of his friends had moved away. One up north, another had emmigrated to Australia ( lucky blighter, but he missed George, his best friend) a couple were dead. That had been a sobering thoiught for him. Dead and not a lot different in their ages. Not that sobering meant a lot, he was not a big drinker. The odd glass of whisky on a cold day, after his walk with Connie, but today was not cold enough. However, if it was a real hand, like this woman thought, a good enough reason later, for a short snifter? Hmm! A warming glow began to tickle his stomach. The wind had freshened, a shot would go down quite well. Perhaos the local pub?
“I do apologise,” uttered Mary, pulling away from the embrace. She really was losing it. In the arms of a strange man, albeit, a rather handsome one, with a lovely friendly dog. OK, put on the straightjacket, I am definitely gone, she thought. Ready to be stuffed in a home where they never let you out unaccompanied. “This is not me,” she said aloud, “I would never normally be thown by something like this,” she offered the excusr, her cheeks reddening.
Rand stepped back, to let her get her bearings again. It was presumptuous of him. Spur of the moment thing. But she did look as though she needed a bit of support.
“Here, let me escot ypu back a bit further. I can hear Police sirens. I presume you called them, Hmm?”
Mary let herself be led back along the beach a few yards, his comforting presence a boon at this time. Well, he was only being kind, after all. Nothing else!
“i expect they will want to question you. They usually do in such cases. Pity! You should have run home. Oh, no, these days they track mobiles don’t they?” He turned to the dog who was straining to get away over to the stairs. “Connie,will you stop it!” Connie was getting all excited again as several uniormed Policemen clunked down the rickety steps. Mary hoped it would not collapse. They had been erected donkeys years ago. The ocean in these parts was not kind to wood. There was quite a bit of creaking as the Policemen, three of them, clumped down.
One crossed the small strip of beach to where Mary, Rand and Connie were standing. The tide was on its way in and this part of the beach was narrower than the far end and high tide came in sooner. Mary could hear waves lapping the shore. She wondered how long it would be until the first fingers of ocean started slapping at the steps, obliterating the crime scene, if that was what it was? Wouldn’t be the first time a bidy had washed up here from further up the coast.
Another episide noted down.
Waves slapped an empty beach,
Frothy salted water ebbed the sand,
Shells, vacant now, uniccupied a while,
Mussels, limpets, cockles clack
As tides wash them ashore, tinkling
As each lap throws them away.
Dispensing with the occupants,
The sea no longer has need.
Curlews fish in the froth, seeking
Shellfish for a meal,
Gulls fight for a flapping fish,
Chasing smaller birds away.
The sea does not want them,
But predators cannot resist
A tasty meal, easy meat,
A gritty feast. Who knows
What the ocean throws away?
Fox, weasel, landlubbers both,
Taking a chance for something different,
Braving the incoming tide,
Snatching from greedy gulls,
Who knows? Gulls might be tasty too.
Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. November, 2015.
Keep happy, be safe.