perfect beach drive tune…

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I used to have an overflowing desk draw that contained a  zip-up pouch full of my favourite pencils and pens, stencils, and worn-out erasers. Do you remember the smell of those jelly-like pencil holders that were supposed to correct the way you held it?

My handwriting has evolved through the years, from plump ‘a’s and ‘m’s that were in perfect symmetry, to a barely legible scrawl. I had more reason to write when I was younger though. Growing up without computers and the internet meant that you had to write everything. Letters to pen pals, calendar entries, secret diaries, love letters, and the movie schedule at the local cinema. I’ll never forget how excited I was to receive letters in the post box. I remember receiving a letter from a guy I had a crush on. I fell in love with his handwriting. It was half print, half cursive. Ever letter was perfect to me. I must have read that letter over 50 times. I wish I still had it. I don’t like hanging on to many things, but I wish I’d kept every letter that was written to me. I would look at them like I look at the photos from my antique self-winding camera – with nostalgia.


Sudden Downpour

Sudden Downpour.

“Hello. I was just wondering if you had any umbrellas.” The old man looked at me quizzically, as if I was speaking in an ancient tongue that hadn’t been uttered for a thousand years.
“Any what?”
“Umbrellas. Its’ pouring down outside,” I said, raising my voice a notch or two.
“Oh. Umbrellas. Ah yes.” He shuffled behind the counter and pulled out a box of tiny paper umbrellas attached to a toothpick. You know, the kind you put in your Pina Colada.
“Here we are. Umbrellas.” I shook off a few more droplets as he handed me the box with the tiny little drink umbrellas. I looked at him with a mixture of frustration and sadness.
“Gotcha! Don’t worry, I’m not losing my mind, I know what you mean, I was just teasing. Over there on the right there’s a whole bunch of umbrellas. Golfing umbrellas, ladies’ umbrellas and some for the kids too.” I looked over toward the umbrella stand. It was nestled between the oversized vase of peacock feathers and the rail of feather boas. As I gingerly weaved my way between the collection of china dolls and creepy porcelain dogs I felt ashamed that I had doubted the intellectual capacity of this lovely old man but I was also amused by his ability to make me feel stupid.
I chose a leopard print umbrella with a clawed handle. It was the most subtle of the umbrellas on offer. I looked back at the counter. The old man was lighting up what seemed to be a joint. It couldn’t be. It was. The familiar smell wafted into my nostrils and transported me back to another lifetime. I place the umbrella on the counter.
“Just this thankyou.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure. How much is it?”
“Forty-five dollars for you madam,” he coughed.
“Forty- five dollars? For an umbrella?”
“Yes. Forty five dollars. But I don’t think you will be needing it.”
“I need it. “ I pointed to the window. “It’s raining outside.” I was getting frustrated again, and hating myself for it, but I tried to keep calm.
“Madam. Believe me, you will not be needing it.” He started laughing. I looked at the ominous black clouds tumbling towards me. The chubby rain pelted against the window panes and my wet hair continued to drip on a dusty Persian rug. I slapped down a wet fifty dollar note on the counter and didn’t wait for my change. I thanked the crazy old man and said my goodbyes as I ventured out into the storm. I shot out the umbrella and held it with two hands against the battering wind. Head down, I trudged onwards.
I crossed the street, keeping my head down. I felt a warmth growing across my shoulders. The kind you get when you stand in the shower and sway from side to side under the hot water. My umbrella casted a shadow on the dry asphalt before me. I stopped. I dipped my umbrella toward the ground. The rain had stopped. The sky had cleared. And that old man was laughing at me.