It was foggy and the little islands across the river were barely visible, the boats coming and going on the river seemed to appear as if by magic and then they disappeared the same way.
Boppy and Gibson shared a yogurt and then Gibson and I shared a banana and Owen asked for and received tortilla chips for his breakfast.
I walked down to the dock with Owen and we saw an anhinga dive and we waited for the longest time before it resurfaced, far from where it had gone under.
When Lily got up, she and the boys and I walked down to the coffee shop and it was packed. We let Owen get a giant cookie for Breakfast, Part 2 and Lily and I got cappuccinos. Gibson was being fussy. He wanted no one but his mama. He seemed to want to burrow into her like a baby possum. He fussed and he fussed and made it almost impossible for Lily to pack up their things. Owen wanted desperately to go back to the playground and so we did and at one point, there was an-almost emergency involving poop and Lily had to take Owen to the potty and Gibson sat on the play set crying, "Mommy, mommy, mommy," without cease, his hands over his eyes as I pleaded with him to let me carry him to his mommy. "No!" he kept saying. "No, no, NO!"
Finally Lily and I switched places and she came to her baby son and I took over the overseeing of the pooping boy. "Privacy!" said Owen, as I tried to check on him.
Finally we all went to lunch that took forever and our waitress...god. I hate to say this. She is dying. I mean, that's all there is to it. She was thinner than could be thought possible for a living being. She was the color of orange wax, her hair was thin and straw-like. I don't know how she was doing that job.
But she was. And she did a good job and kept bringing pitchers to refill our drinks and brought our food as soon as she could but she did not have one molecule of energy leftover to smile or chat.
I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tell her to go to bed, to please, please rest.
But for all I know she can't stop working because who will pay for rent and electricity, not to mention medical bills?
My god, life can be too hard.
I am going to be thinking of her and worrying about that young woman for a very, very long time.
Lily loaded up the boys and took off for home and Mr. Moon and Brenda went off to buy shrimp and a fishing pole for Brenda and they dropped me off at the place where we're staying and I went down and sat on a bench by the water for a few moments, looking for a little peace, a little quiet. Two men wearing shirts and ties and a younger man wearing a suit walked by and I wondered what in hell they were doing. This is not a shirt-and-tie sort of place. This is a T-Shirt that says, "Fishermen like it rough" sort of place. And wouldn't you fucking know it? One of the older guys in the blue shirt and tie headed straight for me.
"We're doing volunteer work," he said. "I'd like to give you these." He held out three full-color brochures. "They give answers to questions many people have about the Bible."
"No, no, no," I said. (Not unlike my grandson.)
"But," he tried to say.
"NO!" I said again, this time there was no room for wiggle at all. "I have read the Bible!" and he put his tracts back into his pocket and went away. And I thought, as I always do, what would happen if I had walked up to a stranger and tried to tell them why I think that religion is ridiculous.
So then I went shopping. I bought cards and a very blue inexpensive cotton Guatemalan dress which is more like a nightgown than a dress and is a great balcony-wearing garment. I went to the bookstore whose very presence is one of the main reasons I think I can live in this town. The same woman is always there. I am sure she is the owner. She seemed a bit down today. I looked around, desperate to buy something from her and I picked out a journal and then I said, "So what's the best book you've read lately?"
"A novel?" she asked.
"Doesn't have to be," I said.
She showed me this one.
"It's wonderful," she said. I could tell she meant it. I could tell that this book had taken her places she had been loath to leave. So of course I bought it. While I was paying, we discussed authors whom everyone praises but whom we do not like. Not at all.
I will not tell you the names of those authors but I will tell you this- I pray that when we do move here, this woman still owns this bookstore and that we become friends. I have cracked the book and the first sentence made me smile.
"A typewriter shattered my destiny."
And the reason I smiled is because a typewriter shaped my destiny, and I can easily imagine one shattering a destiny as well.
And so it has gone. My husband and his sweet sister have gone down to the city pier to fish a little before supper. We are going to eat in tonight. I am going to cook some of the grouper that Mr. Moon caught last week. I am going to cook it with nothing but salt and pepper and butter and lime juice. It must be prom night in Apalachicola because girls in beautiful dresses and young men in tuxes and suits keep posing in front of the fountain across the road for photographers.
(How's that for stealth iPad photography?)
Ah, prom. And youth and long dresses and wrist corsages and I wonder how many of these couples will be married with two kids in five years and will I really be a part of this community one day? Or at least a part of a subset of this community? Will I know the names of the people at the coffee shop, will I truly become friends with the lady at the bookstore? Will I actually do my grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly? Will we have a dock of our own to watch the sea birds from, the dolphins too?
Owen says he loves Apalachicola. In fact, he says that when he grows up, he will live next door to us, his Mer and his Boppy, and he will see us every day. I suppose this could happen.
One never knows. Of this I am sure.
Just about all I'm sure of these days is that if there are any answers at all to any of it, they are not to be found in colorful brochures about the Bible but do involve love and the hot messy juices of life.
Bite in or don't bite. Some of it's going to get on your shirt anyway.
Much love...Ms. Moon