And then she said to me, "Guess what I did today."
She coasts along the road nearest the beach. Shoving off with the right foot. The bottom black with embedded dirt stained into the callouses. The other foot just as tough and gray rests comfortably on the harsh sandpapered gripping surface of the gravity board. The toes are ringed. Encircled with silver. Carved and twisted and fanciful. Tarnished in places as black as the feet they adorn.
She wears jeans that are old and stained. ripped at the pockets. The hems too long and shredded at the bottom. Coming apart in strings like over done pot roast. They aren't very clean. A Dead Bears patch flapping, coming loose at one pocket. A graying wife beater tank top frayed at the hems with a safety pin holding a torn shoulder strap. Her ears bear silver studs and small loops in a half moon tacked like upholstery, except for the lobes which are strangely bare. Her features are delicate but the expression on her face is stern. Set in seemingly immovable stone. Her skin is clear and pale though she skirts the sun stewed pot of summer revelers with the exception of her shoulders which bear a dusting of reddish tan and freckles. She does not play in the sand. She will not swim. She seeks the shaded heat behind the buildings that cater to the beach goer's. Supplying their food, drink and novelties. Her eyes a shocking blue that springs from the paleness of her skin. Standing out even more with the contrast of the purpled shadows beneath them. Her arms stay at her sides with an occasional swing to aid momentum. The skin here unmarked by nature. An evil brown scar bisects her upper arm. Her hair is wild. Knotted and matted in dreadlocks pointing in all directions. Bouncing about her head rather than flowing in the wind. They are dyed red. An inferno burning down the street in the middle of a summer afternoon.
It has rained earlier in the day. The old streets drain slowly. Large and small puddles lie about stirred with street grit and muddied with dirt. Tiny bits of gravel and rock that have always existed along the gutters mark an obstacle course she readily weaves through. Expert. It doesn't even take thought to navigate. So she is not thinking about it. And suddenly....
The board stops and slides sideways into the mud and she flies. Not smoothly forward but head first. Then leaning back and catching herself with an ingrained instinct buried deep within her and never considered. A softball slide. Into a puddle swimming with grit. The side of her jeans and shirt soaked and muddied. Her arms smeared and scraped. Road burn. She picks herself up and lets fly a string of curse words. Filthy ones. She picks up the board and looking up sees a man standing at the back door to a surf shop, smoking. He stands there watching but when she looks his way asks, "Are you alright"? She says "Yeah". Reaching into her back pocket for a smashed soft pack of Marlboro Reds and pulling one out she asks him, "Got a Light?" She approaches, placing the cigarette between her lips with all the nonchalance of a jaded dame though in fact her years are merely sixteen. She tilts her head as he lights the cigarette. Her eyes squint whenever she lights up. Her mouth in a frowning grimace. She blows the smoke coolly having saved her dignity in this display of worldliness. "Thanks", she says and looks up at him.
She turns to go dropping the gravity board to the pavement. Her back straight and proud though painted in drying mud she kicks off and rolls a few feet before she hears, "Wait! Hey Wait! Come back!"
She stops. Turning and looking back with curiosity at him standing there watching her and then he calls out,
Do you want a job?
© 2010 All Rights Reserved
This is a true story that took place in 2004. My oldest daughter is a charmed person with a smile that works magic and makes people blind to everything else around them. I have taken license in describing the scene where I was not present by my familiarity with her and using the details she described to me.
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