Faye Awoke With A Start

Coconut Cluster
Artist: Rich Reid

Faye awoke with a start. The loud forceful ‘bang’ also alerted the dogs. Alarmed and confused, they responded with a stressful caterwauling of high-pitched barking. Old Duke, the loving white German shepherd, was still extremely nervous from all the chaos that was part and parcel of their move to Key West. Max, a calm mastiff, had settled in, but was never one to let an unidentified noise pass without a ferocious bark.

Falling asleep on the floor in an upright position with her back against the sofa and two lumpy cushions propped under her head had created an almost paralytic stiffness in body joints Faye didn’t even know existed. More slowly than she would have liked or would admit to, she awkwardly pushed herself up off the floor and went to investigate. In her harried struggle to regain control of her petrified body and jump to a standing position, she had forgotten about the glossy black and white photo of Michael’s fifth grade class. It slipped from her hand. The photo sailed across the room landing face up, in the dog’s water bowl. Quickly and carefully she grabbed one corner before it submerged; saving it, just in time, from drowning. With the precision of a surgeon, Faye set the photo on the pristine white kitchen countertop. The damage was minimal. No smearing or tears. In a few minutes, the photo would dry and the potentially disastrous mishap forgotten.

Weaving her way through the obstacle course of battered moving boxes, stacked one upon the other, Faye opened the front door of their charming little bungalow to see if she could determine what had caused the unusual explosion of noise. All was blissfully quiet. No one out and about. She scanned the tiny front garden and narrow walkway that led to the parking areas for the new development of miniature Conch cottages. Smack in the middle of the path was one very large green coconut gently rocking, almost imperceptibly, back and forth on its lopsided posterior. Looking above her head, Faye discovered the lush palm tree's veritable bumper-crop of coconuts. One, the size of a football, had fallen. Obviously, it had bombarded the metal roof of the front porch and then landed in the path. Picking up the offending missile, Faye felt rather smug about the brilliance of her deductive abilities. Now that her joints had unfrozen, she skipped up the few steps and back into the house. She placed her first Key West coconut, as a centerpiece, on the freshly scrubbed pine dining table.

A coconut! The thought thrilled her. It became a symbol; concrete evidence that she was no longer dreaming but had, in fact, actually survived the emotional brutality. The attempts to assassinate her professional reputation and her optimism were in the past. She had not succumbed to the crushing jealousy and hatred. Instead, she had willingly leaped into an unknown torrent that was carrying her away to a new life. She chose freedom. Even if it meant letting go of Michael and leaving her beloved Stinson Beach in California.

Walking over to where the dogs sat, side by side, Faye lovingly kissed each one on top of the head. Then, as though stating a proclamation, she spoke to Duke and Max, knowing they understood,

“WE ARE HERE TODAY! It’s a warm and balmy February morning in Key West. We are ‘HOME’ in our own funny little bungalow. WE MADE IT! We live on a beautiful tropical island thousands of miles away from the people who have hurt and betrayed us beyond wildest imaginings. That hurtful, dysfunctional history will NOT repeat itself. I feel an almost spiritual, devout thanksgiving for my FREEDOM!” Remembering the emotional power of writer Rebecca Wells ‘Ya Ya Sisterhood,’ Faye raised her arms above her head in triumph and yelled, “YA!YA!”

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