Sunday, March 11, 2007


No one noticed me sitting there.

We had parked in Virginia Beach in a disabled spot that looks over the beach and onward to the ocean. I didn't feel like getting out of the car so we did down the windows, whirrred open the sunroof and thus let the cool air inside. Joe went for a walk, promising to be back in a half an hour so we could go to the movies. I pulled out the book I'm reading, one that I'm going to buy for about 6 people I know because it's stunning, and started reading.

The car was parked beside a store that had beach fashions in the window and several small groups or couples stopped to look at the display. None of them noticed me sitting in the car, all they saw was a parked car. So I got to hear a group of teen girls yattering on about the colours and 'oh my God I just love the pleats', a couple wherein a largish woman said to her smallish husband as she pointed to a tiny blouse - "I like that top but it's not me," he nodded but kept his mouth shut, the two college guys made "kiss kiss" sounds aiming at the mannequin in the bikini, it was fun.

I set my book down and just looked out onto the sunny beach and felt the warmth of the sun mixed with the coolness of the breeze. A perfect moment broken into by sharp words. A couple, not young, was fighting as they walked up the sidewalk. Completely oblivious to me they battled. Behind them walked a woman with Down Syndrome, maybe thirty, maybe a bit more. She was having difficulty keeping up with their pace, quickened I'm sure by anger. She looked upset at the fight. Her voice was breathless, 'Mom'. No response. 'Dad'. No response. The war raged on and now they were right beside me. Stopped by the window. My, oh my, the things they said to each other.

She noticed me sitting in the car. She stared for a few seconds and then shrugged her shoulders. I smiled an encouraging smile. She got a little defensive and said, "They aren't always like this you know."

At that they looked first at her and seeing her look at me they followed her gaze and saw me sitting in the car.

"Sometimes they embarass me."

"That's why God made parents," I said. She nodded, like she was thinking about what I'd said.

I watched them walk away. Mom and Dad blushing. Daughter smiling.

The day had resumed it's course. For them and for her. I could tell because as they hit the beach the tension broke and they all fell about in fits of laughter.

As I went back to my book, I thought, "They are going to tell this story way differently than I am, but they are both good stories."

The day kept getting better and better.


lina said...

For the briefest moment, I felt the wind and the feel of the ocean. Even the parents fighting didn't ruin it for me.

Belinda said...

Yes, thanks for taking us from snowy Canada, to the beach! I could feel the warmth of the sun and Lina's breeze.

I loved the parting thought--that the event might be a very different story from another point of view.

As one who loves stories--that thought fascinates me.

Brenda B said...

I know all too well about the embarrassment parents seem genetically programmed to deal out! I remember going shopping with my mom as a teenager and we were casually walking through the sears department store in our local mall. Strolling down the "unmentionables" isle my mom spotted a mannequin whose lovely if not somewhat daring nightie had slipped off her shoulder exposing her fake breast. I wanted to politely ignore it and walk on by but my mom had other ideas. She had to give back that girl her dignity, climbing up to fix the nightie and put "everything" else in it's rightful place! I was sure the whole store was watching including that cute boy I had my eye on.I'm curious was this as memorable for you?

Belinda said...

Ha ha! Brenda has told a story on ME! Is there no safe place in the blog world? :)

There's a warm glow on my face now that isn't the sun. :)