Monday, September 14, 2009

chapter one: now

this came out of my creative flow before the move back to GA...i don't know if ai am really going anywhere with it, but i thought i'd share. i would love any feedback you might want to give.

Chapter One:
Gina walked quietly along the shoreline. The cool waves lapped against her feet as she carefully tread the line between being in the ocean and walking along the beach. Each step left a small impression for the waves to wash away. She mused about the impermanence of most things as she watched her previous footstep disappear and sink back into the sand.

The sky was becoming overcast with the first hint of dark gray. She looked out over the vast water and could see the thunderheads gathering in a mighty force.

“It must be near 4 o’clock,” she thought to herself knowing that you could set your watch by the summer rains, “there’s never enough time to just be.”
It was just about time to bring her leisurely walk to an end. She wasn’t particularly looking forward to going to work tonight. Just another night serving barely legal kids overpriced drinks as they tried their best to top each other in acts of stupidity. It was summer in Crescent View after all.

For a while now, she had tended bar at the local night club. It was the only actual night club in Crescent View. The club differentiated itself from a few of the local bars by offering a lot of live music, having a large dance area, and featuring a second music venue on the back patio. The name of the club had changed a dozen times or so, and the crowd shifted every so often as the venue went from alternative rock, to hip hop club, to preppie bar and back again. But each time the theme of the club changed, the new owner was sure to feature a varying kind of music once a week, sometimes more. This ensured the club would always have a steady clientele, holding the interest of those vacationers who felt like walking a few blocks instead of driving to the larger city 30 miles away. Given the amount of alcohol consumed in the club, walking was by far the best option.

The bar-tending gig had been good to her though. Over the years she’d been lucky enough to catch some really great live shows, befriend traveling musicians from all over the world, and focus on her art. Her regulars always tipped well and she made a pretty decent living despite the late night hours. The other perk was that in the winter months, the club had limited hours and she could focus on the winter art show circuit. She loved traveling around the country for a few months and camping out in her van. Well, this year’s show circuit was still a ways off.
It was mid-summer now and there were always throngs of visitors to the beach resort town of Crescent View. The night club, no matter it’s name and music was always busy in the summer. Tonight would be a wild one, it always was when the moon was full. She could never place exactly what it would be this time, but folks were always hyped up when the moon was full. It was as if they were on high alert and allowed their own energy to extend from themselves. More often than not, this extra ramped up energy lead to major brawls on the dance floor as one too-drunk guy inevitably hit on someone else’s girl. The fighting generally happened about 2 in the morning when everyone was high on life, music, dancing, drinks and whatever they might have snuck into the club or taken before they got there. The bouncers, a few well muscled fellows, would let it go a minute or two and give the involved parties a chance to clear it up without interference, but if that didn’t happen pretty quick, all those involved would find themselves being escorted out. And not out to the patio, but out onto the curb, as in “Seeya.”
Full moon at the bar always promised to be interesting. Gina preferred to work the patio bar on the full moon, at least this way she could gaze overhead at the giant glowing orb above and allow her imagination to run when she wasn’t busy serving drinks or brushing off the most recent pick-up attempt. There was a new musician playing his debut on the patio tonight and she was looking forward to that. Gina had heard the owner playing the demo CD last week and it sounded as if this guy might even have talent.

“Just a quick splash to find my favorite reality and then home to my little cabana,” she told herself as she slipped out of her well worn sundress and dashed into the rolling waves.

The coolness was refreshing and she allowed herself to float for a minute, weightless, surrounded by the massive water. Using her hands and some sand she scrubbed her body with the salt water, finally she plunged her head deep into the ocean and used her fingers to massage the water into her scalp. This ocean cleanse was a daily ritual Gina hated to go without. She wouldn’t shower before work. She preferred, whenever possible, to go to work with the salt of the sea stuck to her skin and in her hair. Somehow it made her feel better about life to breath in her salty smell when the bar really starting happening. The slight salty stick on her skin helped her feel more at ease with the surroundings of the bar. There was just something about knowing she had visited the ocean that day. Gina felt deeply connected to the ocean, she always had.
When she was done with her ritual salt sea bath, she swam back toward the shore to the point where her hands could touch the sandy bottom. Then as she used to do when she was a kid “walked” herself on her hands to as shallow of a spot as she could reach without actually dragging her body out the water. Her sundress and sandals awaited her patiently, untouched and clouded over by the coming storm.

“I better get a move on,” Gina mused to herself, “This one will be here very shortly.” As Gina walked to her belongings she noticed a medium sized conch shell beside her dress.

“Hmm, I don’t remember that being here before,” she thought.

She crouched down and picked up the shell. It was a really lovely specimen with small spines all along the outside twirling in, getting smaller and smaller in sequence. The inside of the conch shell was so smooth, a light peachy pink that she knew would shine brightly in the sun.

“This will be a beautiful addition to my collection. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before,” she thought figuring that she was just too distracted to have seen it before.

Gina was an avid collector of all items washed ashore from the ocean. Her studio was full of sea glass, shells, dried seaweed, and other oddities she had collected walking along the beach for years. This shell was a true prize though. She lingered just a moment longer to catch the breathtaking view of a late afternoon summer thunderstorm coming in from over the ocean. It was one of her favorite tricks of nature. To see how the clouds swirled closer to each other attracted by some unseen force, then as they came together the clouds rose like smoke billowing from a chimney, darkened and headed straight for shore.

The clouds burst overhead and the first few raindrops splashed on her already wet hair as she reached the French doors of the cabana. Her perfect cabana. Not her Mother’s house, Grandfather’s condo, or boyfriend’s apartment this time. Finally she had saved enough to buy a little place of her own, and it didn’t help that Dolores the previous owner only asked for a price she knew Gina could afford. She’d been living there for about a year now and it was everything she hoped it would be. The property was nestled near a banyan grove and she could walk through a little sandy trail straight to the beach. The little sky blue hideaway was perfect. The cabana was smallish, but comfortable with two bedrooms, one full bathroom with spacious tub, a dining room /living combination and a nice working kitchen. Each room had large picture windows showcasing the amazing ocean view. The French doors in the living room opened onto a small tiled patio with sitting area, lily pond, flower gardens, raised vegetable garden beds, tons of foliage for privacy and an outdoor kitchen. She had her own little oasis hidden away right there in Crescent View. Across the patio was her favorite part of the cabana. Peeking out from behind Saw Palmettos, banana trees, and flowering hibiscus shrubs was a small shed that had been converted into an art studio. It was her very own place to go and lose herself in imagination, creation and play.

The woman from whom she had bought the house, Dolores, had used the small art studio for decades and it had so much personality and life within it. Gina saw it as the perfect place to work on her craft and perfect her techniques. That’s what Dolores, an avid gardener, water color artist, talented herbalist, and her mentor in many things saw it as too. She had made that small studio space a sanctuary devoted wholly to processing her inner being into tactile pieces of art work. Now Gina did the same. For some reason she often found herself following in Dolores footsteps.

Gina headed out to the studio with the shell inspired by the perfection of nature to start something new in the few hours before she had to get to work. As she opened the door and stepped inside, Gina let out a shriek as the stranger emerged from behind her largest painting…

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