DW, an Army vet, has published 9 novels. His day job is teaching elementary school. In his spare time, he camps with his wife of 30+ years.
A New Morning Routine
Most of the master bedroom was taken up by a king-sized bed. The headboard was a carved cherry wood plaque engraved with jumping dolphins facing each other. On either side of the bed stood matching cherry wood nightstands. Upon the nightstands were brass lamps operated by tapping the base. The nightstand on the left side of the bed also held his ceiling projection alarm clock and a wireless phone charging stand.
Across from the foot of the bed was a matching dresser with an oval mirror held up by two curling struts that reminded Mark of re-curve bows. A chest of drawers along the wall between the bedroom and master bathroom doors completed the furnishings.
The shades covering the paired windows were of the room-darkening variety. The drapes were a pale blue.
Mark tossed the towel he wore around his waist into the bathroom and pulled a pair of boxer briefs from the underwear drawer in the chest of drawers. Over those went a pair of quick-dry, light-weight shorts. Socks and sneakers came next. Properly attired, Mark left his townhouse for an early morning run on the beach.
A Run on the Beach
It was a short jog east down Eleventh Street to the beach. The June air was warm and humid and carried the scent of the Magnolias. The road that circled along in front of the complex was lined with Magnolia trees.
The breeze coming off the ocean as Mark ran along the edge of the surf had a clean, fresh smell with just a tinge of saltiness. He breathed deeply of this sea air as he ran north toward the park. With each breath of sea air, the image from the nightmare disappeared.
Mark continued north under the Buzby Beach Pier, a concrete and steel edifice stretching over 1,100 feet past the high tide line into the Atlantic Ocean. The current pier replaced the wooden structure lost during a hurricane that hit the island the fall after Mark graduated from high school.
His path continued north into the county park until reaching High Top Dune, at which point Mark followed the winding path to the top of the dune and back down again before turning south and backtracking down the island.
Near the south end, Mark turned around when he reached what he considered an ugly white scar on the island - the six-foot-high masonry wall separating the Buzby Yacht Club private beach from the public. By law, the wall only reached the high tide line, and anyone who chose to could walk past the so-called private beach as long as they stayed below the high tide line. Mark had no use for the Buzby Yacht Club, its beach, or its members.
A short run from the BYC wall brought Mark back to the Eleventh Street beach entrance. He walked the last half-mile back to the townhouse to cool off. Once there, he went inside, showered again, and changed into clothes more suitable for breakfast at EJ's Donuts and Deli.
Breakfast at EJ's
EJ's Donuts and Deli was just beginning to fill up with customers when Mark walked in through the old fashioned wooden door. A bell hanging over the door jingled to announce his arrival. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, fresh donuts and biscuits, and fried bacon assailed Mark's nose in a friendly fashion when he walked into the shop. Few of the tables were occupied. Most customers were taking their orders to go.
Mark reached the counter and placed his order - a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with a cup of black coffee.
"For here or to go," the woman behind the counter asked in lightly accented English. Her name tag identified her as Gudrun.
"Here," Mark replied.
"You may take a table," Gudrun informed him as she rang up his order. "Your food and coffee will be brought to you."
Mark gave Gudrun a curt nod and, after dropping his change in the tip jar, found a table along the wall where he could sit and watch the morning goings-on while he ate.
A young man whose name tag read Andy brought Mark's biscuit and coffee. Andy left Mark alone after assuring himself there was nothing else the old soldier needed at the moment.
The tables around him began to fill up with older folks in twos and threes coming in to sit and drink coffee. Occasionally, a younger couple or lone individual might come in, occupy a table for a few minutes while they ate their food, and concentrated on whatever was on their phone. Most of the customers, though, came in, got their order, and left.
Mark had nearly finished his biscuit when a man he guessed to be in his mid-twenties came in, accompanied by a young woman of the same age. There was something familiar about the young man. After a moment, Mark realized what it was.
He's prior service. I can tell by the way he's looking everywhere at once, assessing the room, the situation.
The man looked Mark's way, and they locked eyes. Recognition flashed in the other man's eyes, and they shared a nod. Mark didn't know the guy but would have bet his pension the kid - as Mark thought of him - had seen action in some of the same crappy places Mark had. The two took their order and left.
Mark finished his coffee and, leaving a tip for whoever cleared his table, followed soon after the younger soldier and his girlfriend. Once on the sidewalk, he stood there, staring towards the ocean without a clue as to what to do next.
Plans for his first day of retirement had been to sleep in and then be lazy all day. So far, his plan had not gone as planned. He'd gotten up early, gone on a five-mile run, had breakfast, and it wasn't even seven o'clock.
What am I going to do with myself all summer until classes start? The whole idea of taking it easy and hanging out at the beach suddenly doesn't seem like a good one.
Mark's story continues in chapter 3
- This We Share (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 03
Mark hears from his older brother with whom he has a contentious relationship.
© 2020 DW Davis