Changing Directions: A Short Story, Part 3
Raha had never saw a woman as beautiful as this. He apologized for talking to the little girl without permission and the woman told him that it was not a big deal. She told Raha that Amanda has a way of pulling a conversation out of a complete stranger. The lady introduced herself as Juliet Brown. Juliet excused herself from the conversation by explaining that she had to go to her shop to do some late night cleaning. She owned a novelty shop in the center of town and she always liked walking down the beach to work. Raha told her that it was nice to meet her and he watched as they walked away.
Raha laid back in the warm sand and thought about the last few days. He wondered if Randy had received his letter and he wondered about his father. If his father was still living Raha wondered what he might be doing with his life. He wondered what his father was thinking the day he left Raha to take care of Randy. That seems like a lifetime ago he thought. Now, he thought, I am lying here in the sand on a beautiful beach that before only existed in books and my thoughts.
It was completely dark now with an almost full moon shining on the ocean. He shut his eyes and drifted off to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a time when he and Cassidy were very young. They were walking down a wooded path together and Cassidy would look at him and just smile. As they walked Raha looked down at the path and when he looked up again Cassidy was gone. He looked around in every direction but he did not see her. As he walked he came to the bottom of a long hill and he could see Cassidy standing at the top. He called to her and she turned and smiled but then turned and kept walking. Raha began to holler for her to stop but she still kept walking and never looked back again. Raha was running now trying to catch her. As he ran he was yelling, "Cassidy wait for me. Please wait for me." Raha woke himself up yelling the same phrase.
Raha lay there for a minute just looking at the sky. Sea gulls were flying back and forth searching for their next meal or just enjoying the breeze on which they glided. Raha thought about the dream and how different it was from all of the other dreams he had about Cassidy. He lay there thinking about his next move. He realized that his plan had only been to come to Key West. He didn't have any plans about what to do when he got here. He decided to think about it over breakfast.
Raha walked around until he spotted a place where it looked like he might be able to buy breakfast cheap. He looked at the menu and realized he had made a good choice. First on the list he saw that he could get 2 eggs, bacon or sausage, 2 pieces of toast and coffee for $2.99. This seemed like a good deal so he ordered it. As he ate breakfast he thought about what to do next but he could not think of a good plan of action. As he paid for his breakfast he realized that money was running short so he knew that his next order of business was to find a job. But where? As he started to leave he asked the waitress if she knew where he might be able to find work. She said that she didn't know of anywhere particular but if he went to the center of town close to the beach there was a large bulletin board that people advertised on. "It's how I found this job," she said.
As he walked toward the center of town Raha wondered what type of jobs a man might find in this kind of town. He didn't have many skills to offer he thought. Working at a grocery store sweeping floors didn't exactly provide you with a lot of skills either. He knew that he didn't have many options. He finally found the bulletin board after asking several people. He looked up and down the board. There was a job for a deck hand on a fishing boat. Raha quickly wrote down the number to call. Fishing was the one thing he did know something about he thought. He kept looking to see what else may be there. There were several waiter and waitress positions open but that would be a last resort for him. He saw an advertisement for a handyman and wrote down the number. He also wrote down the number for some of the waiter positions just in case. He started looking for a pay phone and spotted one just across the street.
Raha called about the deck hand first. The boat captain told him how to get to the marina and the name of his boat. Raha was to be there at 3:00 PM that afternoon. He had time to kill so he called about the handyman job. The lady on the phone thanked him for calling and asked if he could be there at 5:00 PM. Raha told her that would be good and he thanked her.
He didn't have anything to do for awhile now so he just walked around like the tourist he was. He was looking into a store window when he saw his reflection. What a mess he thought to himself. It had been about three days since his last bath and he had slept in his cloths now for the last two nights, in his truck one night and on the beach the other. He wondered where he might be able to take a bath when he looked toward the ocean. What better place he thought. He walked into a drug store and bought a bar of soap and headed for the water. First he grabbed some clean cloths from his truck and a towel. He walked to the water and began to undress when he realized that he did not have a bathing suit. So he did the only thing he knew to do. He pulled out his pocket knife and cut the legs out of his jeans. With that done, he stepped into the clear, warm water.
The water felt wonderful. Raha began to ride the waves and play in the water like a little kid. This was the first time he had ever been in the ocean and he loved it. He tried to float for a while and was enjoying every minute. Then he looked toward the beach and saw Juliet and Amanda walking down the beach. He wanted to yell to them but decided against it. He watched as they walked away.
The time passed and Raha headed toward the marina for the deck hand interview. As he walked through the marina he couldn't get over all of the boats. They were huge. He finally found the boat he was looking for, Caroline. He gave a shout out but there did not seem to be anyone there. About that time he heard someone say " hang on, I'm coming." A man who appeared to be in his 50s was walking toward him. Raha shook his hand and asked if he was Captain Trent, the man he was supposed to interview with? "Sure am" the man said. They talked for about an hour about Raha's fishing experience and what brought him to Key West. Raha had just told the man that he needed a change of scenery. The man told him that he had the job as long as he wasn't running from the law. Raha assured him that he wasn't. Captain Trent told Raha that he would not be starting until the end of the month, which was about three weeks, because his current deck hand was not leaving until then. He accepted the job. The two shook hands and Raha was on his way.
Raha was grateful for the job but three weeks was a long time to wait. He looked at his watch and realized that he still had time to make it for the handyman interview. He looked for the address for a while and when he found it he was a little disappointed. Waiting on the lawn was another man who said he was also there for the job. He said the lady had been running late from work she said, so she was running behind a little. She was interviewing someone else right now. Raha didn't feel very good about things but he didn't have anything else to do so he waited. He had been there about ten minutes when the other man came out of the house and walked away. Raha sat with his back to the door and the lady asked the other gentleman to please come in. Now he was the only one left under the big shade tree where they had been waiting. As he thought about the deck hand job he heard someone call his name. "Raha? Isn't that your name?"
End of part 3. Check back in for part 4.