We walked hand in hand on the desolate beach. The wind bluffed with erratic flurries and toyed with our unbuttoned blazers. The dying waves, frowzy with the aftermath of earlier rage, collapsed at our feet. The hoary sky shepherded dark hollow clouds in intimidation. The veteran eyes of this seafarer knew only too well that the storm had come to pass.
My son's little hand stirred in mine as he looked up at me. "It's not gonna rain tonight", he ventured with newly acquired confidence. "It's not", I echoed his words and ruffled his shortly trimmed hair with gentle fingers.
It had rained incessantly for days and nights. In our little town that is no longer little there is very little to do when it rains even a little. We wait behind window panes, flinching with the ensuing violent wallops of lightening, captivated by the brutal slamming of open shutters and the drumming of destined thunder. When the autumn uproar is over at last we file along the shore to appraise the aftermath. Crumbled timber litters the sand, lost cargo thrown overboard from hapless ships bearing the wrath of demented swells, dead cattle, relics from the past; acceptable losses no more.
I walk that stretch of beach again well into the winter until no longer I can. I lean on him and put my calloused hand in his as he shows me the way. "It's over, the rainstorm isn't it?" I ask. "Sure thing, it's over", my son's words reassure me to keep plodding along. "You know what, when I was a kid" I start, pointing my finger eastward and to the south, "it was all orange groves here, here and there". He faces me with a smile then pulls my collar higher around my neck, "yeah baba, you told me so". He sees the worried look in my tired eyes and caresses my shoulder. He pulls me closer and shuttles me home before the dark of night falls. The calls of enchanting sirens tempt us to wade into the sea. Their silhouettes well defined in the rays of the drowning sun, their breasts wobble on the troubled surface. The salty breeze fills our heads with memories, real and imagined. Slowly, we march back in lonely silence.