Until the drawbridge opened, we idled on the Causeway and marveled at the monstrous Buccaneer, like one of those humongous bright balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His saber sliced cerulean sky, a Sunshine pirate greeting on a road to Paradise.
We joked about our final stop, this last resort of turquoise pools, abundant sun, alligators, Geckos and Palmetto bugs—indeed, every sort of crawler! Sea gulls called, crying over parking lots, Tyrone Square Mall, Winn Dixie, 7/11, palms. Salty Gulf breezes blew sand in everything. Transients and friends with names like Jinx and SuSu, natives of sun and storms, children born of heat and hurricanes, wafted cannabis and citrus. In Judy’s yard, grapefruits grew, big as melons, their juice profuse, sticky pink, and she told us in her Lakeland drawl of Spook Hill and vehicles rolling in reverse.
Which is where I find myself, going backyards up an incline, returning to a place and time, defying gravity and reason, somewhere so many decades gone––beaches of honeyed scents, coconut and mango, lotions slathered in lazy half-circles on each other’s back, and the newspaper was free if the sun didn’t shine.
Joyce Wheatley is a librarian in a public library in Upstate New York. She writes brief stories, poems and recollections.