Low TideAs you know from the last installment, after I met Sandi, my performance at work went rapidly downhill. Every time I looked at Sandi, my self control vanished, and work, well, who cared? I don't know how it kept happening, but we would wind up at the beach. I tried to fight it, stay professional, but . . .
That same July when I first met Sandi, the temperature and humidity kept going up. Less than two weeks after I met Sandi, we were already living together, but my house was not air conditioned. Sandi and I had spent a sleepless, sweaty night (not completely without its benefits), and when the alarm went off for work, there was only one thought in my mind. I said nothing to Sandi, but I could see the smile on her face.
"Sandi, no beach stop-off this morning, or Morton will fire me."
"Okay, I didn't say anything." Sandi purred, but she smiled.
"I know that look, and we just can't. The mortgage payment is due next week, and we just can't screw up."
Sandi said absolutely nothing, but she just had this impish grin on her face. I knew what that meant, but I said nothing. I was learning that she was very impulsive and spontaneous, but in a terrific way. However, not this morning, no way.
She said, "work, right, work, I know." She then softly muttered something about "Morton can take a long walk off a short pier." I smiled at the image. The guy was born in a suit and tie. He probably slept that way, dress shoes on, files at the ready. But he really was on my case. I did not want to get put on probation at work, although some days, I just did not give a damn.
Sandi was more like a conspirator in crime, and not the best influence. But I was crazy about her, and in any contest between Mr. Morton and Sandi, well . . .
We left the house, both of us dressed casually for work. Sandi wore a nice pair of new dark pressed blue jeans, with a thoroughly professional pink long sleeved dry cleaned blouse, with some nice loose frills around the cuffs, that came over her wrists, and partly covered her hands. I couldn't help but wonder how that blouse would look soaked, but no, this was Thursday; work first. Think right.
She had lost her black pumps a couple of weeks before (and you know how that happened), so she had her best brown dress shoes in her hand as we went out to the car. We had been to the beach a lot in the past couple of weeks, so the car was not in what you would call great shape. Sand all over the driver and passenger floorboards, one soaking wet towel in the back seat. I was supposed to have the car ready for clients. This was nowhere close to being client-ready.
I looked over at Sandi in the passenger seat. She looked resigned for work at the bank. Her bank was over-staffed, and her supervisor was pretty lax, unlike my boss, so I knew what she was thinking.
Sandi gave a little sigh, and said "okay, let's go. Another day in the salt mine." My heart melted. She was so beautiful that I just loved to make her happy. Every day.
"Sandi, we can only stop off at the beach for at most five minutes. I've already missed several afternoons of work, and Mr. Morton is really on my case. I have run out of explanations, and I have to get in early this morning to make up some time. So, we'll just get a muffin down there, and then, right into work."
"Oh, goody, just five minutes!! That will make us both so much more productive!! Doing something you love in the morning makes you so much more productive. You'll see, you will get twice as much work done when you get in. Also, the traffic might lighten up in a little while. We'll get in faster, and waste less time in traffic."
I looked at her face, and she sounded and looked so sincere. It seemed to make some sense. I was sure that she intended to go to work. I felt in control as I made the familiar left turn towards the shore, watching the highway traffic headed downtown, bumper to bumper already. It was already eighty degrees, and really humid. Another scorcher!!
We got to the beach in about twenty minutes. Everyone was headed to work, going in the opposite direction. I felt like such a criminal, but five minutes at the snack stand, and we'd head back in to work. We both needed to eat anyway, so this made some sense.
We got to the beach, and this time, I kept my cell phone with me, just in case that jerk Morton called. Sandi and I carried our shoes, looking collected and professional as we walked through the tunnel to our favorite beach. God, I must say that coming out of that tunnel seemed to transport me into a different universe. The gulls were out looking for breakfast, making their high pitched cries. The smell!! God, it was good. And the waves breaking gently onto the sand. Sounded like low tide. I really was coming here too often if I could know that just by listening.
I looked at Sandi, and I could see by the smile on her face that she was in heaven too. It was like an addiction, although netiher of us would admit it. Perhaps there was a treatment program for beach addicts like us.
"Okay, Sandi, no more than ten minutes, and then we have to go back."
"Righty, ten minutes."
I loved the way she said "righty" and "goody." So casual a woman, the opposite of everyone at work.
We walked over to the snack stand, but it was still closed!! Beach time was different from work time, that was for sure. I then realized that the beach was still deserted, because it was so early. But it was already hot and sticky. Never a sea breeze in the morning.
Sandi was quick: "They will open in five or ten minutes, we'll just take a quick stroll on the beach. It will relax us both, and we'll be happy and productive at work." She playfully tugged on my hand, "Come on, don't be so serious all the time." Who could argue with that? It was still early.
"Alright, but no more than fifteen minutes, twenty tops, then we have to leave."
Sandi grinned, "So look at the time on your phone, twenty minutes from now, we'll turn around and start walking back towards the tunnel, get a muffin, eat it in the car, and we'll be at work in no time." Okay, that made some sense. Eating breakfast in the car would save some time.
We walked, and Sandi hummed a tune. The gulls sang another tune overhead. The sand on this beach was so soft, and was a nice light brown color. It was hard to think about my sales report while walking on the beach. I couldn't even remember our biggest account. Oh, well.
Sandi pointed out that it was low tide. "We can walk closer to the water's edge. The sand will be firmer, and we won't get messy. We can lean on each other to put our shoes back on when it's time to go back."
I pointed out that I forgot the towel again.
"Oh, it was so wet and yucky, better without it."
That too made sense to me. So we walked to the water's edge, and Sandi bent down to roll up her blue jeans, a nice new pair too. They were stiff to roll up, but she got them over her knee with a little difficulty. Then she went to work on mine. Her fingers felt so soft at work, that I didn't put up any resistance.
We started to walk in the low tide wavelets. Pretty tame, and Sandy tugged on my hand to go out just a little farther. It was so hot that day, and the water felt so nice. Sandi asked if I wanted to go out to a movie that night, and I asked her what was playing at our neighborhood fourplex theater. We debated a little, and finally picked out something good.
We were wading almost knee deep, but the water was relatively calm, and it felt soooo good to me. Sandi was on my right, so she was out just a little farther, and I could not help but notice that she had a couple of splashes on her cuff, but that would dry in the car, especially in this heat.
I was suddenly jerked back to reality by the ping of a text message on my phone. Damn it!! I pulled it out from my pocket, and scrolled down. It was just routine. Morton: "Monthly sales reports due by the close of business." That was to all sales associates, and not aimed at me. Okay.
Sandi asked if it was important, and I told her "just routine."
I put the phone away, and not one minute later, another text ping. Morton: "I would like to disucss your sales figures this morning." Hmmm, this one was irritating, and then I blurted out in alarm, "Hey, what time is it?"
"You're the one with the phone."
"Damn it, we've already been walking for fifteen minutes. We have got to turn around." I listened to myself, and I did not find myself convincing.
Sandi smiled her cute little grin, and I heard myself say, "Okay, ten more minutes, and then we really must go back." I was still looking at that stupid cell phone when a small wave came in and got Sandi and me right above the knees. The rolled up part of both our jeans drank up some water, and Sandi's rolled up cuffs on her jeans turned even darker. In fact, on her right leg, the cuff had come lose, and the rolled up cuff was pretty wet on her right leg.
Sandi didn't care. She was just delighted with walking in the surf. We had drifted out a bit now, and the boardwalk was starting to look smaller and distant. Sandi started kicking some water up as we walked, and she got me a bit wet, and I said "Hey!," so Sandi playfully splashed me with her foot. I splashed her back, and got her good above her knees. Her right pants leg was coming down with the weight of the mild soaking.
Then another text ping. Morton: "You will grace us with your presence soon, I hope." I needed to reply, and we stopped while I fiddled with the damned thing. Sandi and I were both focused on the phone, when wham!! A medium sized wave slammed into us. Low tide was ending.
"Whoa!!" was all that Sandi could get out. She was short, and was soaked to the middle of her thighs, and I mean thoroughly soaked, dripping wet. The cuff on her right
leg had completely fallen down in the water, and we were both now standing in a couple of feet of water. I looked down at both of our now soaked jeans, and wondered what Morton would say about that. Sandi's cuff on the left leg was starting to disassemble too. Neither of us was looking nearly as professional as when we had emerged from the tunnel onto the beach. A little water had also splashed onto Sandi's nice pink blouse. Maybe the bank would make some allowances for her, I thought.
Just then, another text ping. Just as I pulled out the cell phone again, and was fantasizing about Sandi being able to go into work dripping wet, another, slightly larger wave caught both of us by surprise. One side of Sandi's jeans got soaked to the waist. "Holy cow," was all that she could get out.
Meanwhile, I glanced at the text. Morton: "Where the hell are you!! Get your *** in here now!!" These were all in caps. I sensed some real anger and frowning, I started to look at my last reply to see what had set his anger off.
The wave started to rush out, and a fine la
Sandi said something about the snack shack, but she could see that I was shaken by the text. She grabbed the phone. "What is that ******* saying now?!" Sandi read the text, and I tried to get it back. She played keepaway, and said, "let him stew in his own juice."
I just had time to get out "Sandi," when a third wave really slammed into us. I looked at Sandi, and her jeans were completely soaked to her waist. The lower part of her shirt was pretty wet too, and certainly had lost it's dry cleaned appearance, that was for sure. One of her shirt tails had come out and Sandi looked a little messed up.
She just laughed hysterically, and refused to budge, even as I tugged on her hand to guide us back to shore.
Just then a fourth wave hit us, and I almost lost my balance. Sandi stumbled into me, and now the water went out with a real rush. Neither of us could stand still, and we both involuntarily took about five big steps deeper in, with the force of the outgoing rush of water, when the final wave of the set hit us both, and it was a doozey. Sandi completly lost her balance, and fell to her knees. The wave washed right over her, and when she got up, she was pretty done, pretty well soaked to the skin, her blouse, drenched, and her jeans, drenched as though they had just come out of the washing machine, in the middle of an unfinished soak cycle. Her beautiful brown hair was in disarray, but not yet completely soaked, just fairly wet as though she had walked in heavy rain for five minutes. Mascara ran in small streams down her face. She was a sight to behold. Actually, I felt a little excited. Morton? The office? I was just looking at my gorgeous girl friend, completely soaked.
She deadpanned, "Hello, I'm Sandi, your friendly bank loan officer, at your service. How can we help you today? Do you have a towel before we discuss your loan application?"
I broke into hysterical laughter, because Sandi looked like such a mess. She still somehow had held onto her shoes and my cell phone, which was a miracle.
"Sandi, I think you have gotten the company cell phone soaked. How am I going to explain that? I hope the thing still works."
Sandi looked me full in the eyes. I was learning that she had an impetuous side. She got to her feet, with her soaked, now dark pink blouse hanging loosely over her belt, water running from the tails of her shirt, her dark soaked jeans completely drenched and disheveled, and she shouted, "Who gives a rat's *** about Mr. Morton, or your stupid sales job!!!" Sandi was literally screaming, but no one heard, except for me and the sea gulls.
"Let Morton rot in hell!!! I'm sick of hearing about that moron!!
Just then, the phone pinged twice for successive text messages.
Sandi turned, and before I could stop her, flung the phone as far as she could into the ocean. I was flabbergasted. Who was this beautiful, gorgeous, unpredictable, wild creature? At the same time, I was a slightly pissed off that she had just flung a two hundred dollar company cell phone into the ocean. I briefly wondered whether if we listened carefully, maybe we could get it, before realizing how ridiculous that was.
Then I got a little angry, and I grabbed Sandi's nice brown (now soaked) calf leather shoes, and flung them even farther out into the ocean.
I was shocked at what I had just done, and simply stood there in the surf. Sandi was actually competitive in her way. She then grabbed my dress shoes from me and wildly tossed them into the ocean. It was an unbelievably good throw. Now, everything we had brought from the car, including the car keys tucked into my shoes, was now out there. I could still see one of my shoes floating about sixty feet farther out, but an ocean swell got in the way of a clear view.
Just as I was wondering if that was the shoe with the car keys in them, an even larger wave, with a lot of force, slammed into us. Both of us were knocked down, and forcibly dragged by the wave towards shore. Sandi came up laughing, and only said, "I think we might be late for work this morning."
We both were completely soaked. Any part of Sandi's hair that was not wet before, was now completely soaked. Her hair was wildly plastered to her face, shoulders and back. I was similarly drenched. We just sat in the surf at that point, no pretense of trying to keep dry. We were thoroughly soaked. I looked over at Sandi. Sandi's blouse was plastered to her skin, as though that was her pink skin. Her bra was clearly visible underneath. The lacey frills of her blouse cuffs were glued to her wrist and hand. The shirt was completely pulled out from her soaked jeans. Some sand decorated her blouse and her drenched blue jeans. I leaned over and kissed her. She kissed me back, long and gently. Kissing Sandi was like drinking water or breathing.
Sandi felt around her collar, and said "Oh, my building entry card that was on a lanyard around my neck!!"
I just laughed. We had both just given in to the surf, which was relentlessly coming back in and washing over us. This beach had some monster waves, and Sandi always seemed to find a way to get underneath them.
"I need that entry card."
I said, "I need that cell phone."
Sandi said, "Maybe my nice brown pumps are somewhere out there; can you see our shoes?"
I couldn't see anything at that point. Salt water was in my eyes, and Sandi's too.
Sandi stood up, with streams of water gushing from her jeans, her dark pink shirt, and her beautiful soaked brown hair.
With that, she said, "Well mister, we've got one hell of a treasure hunt," and she ran forward and gracefully dove underneath a four foot wave. I followed. If I got fired, so be it. When Sandi looked like this, I could not take my eyes off her. I dove into the next wave and caught up with her. She was diving underwater, and came up sputtering, saying, "no cell phone down there." She walked out farther and dove under a huge wave. She came up grinning, hair plastered to her face and head.
Sandi said, "Well maybe we should drive back to the house, change, and at least go in to work after lunch. We'll think of something to say."
"Sandi, do you remember throwing my shoes into the ocean"
"I don't like where this is going."
"Well, the car keys were in my right shoe."
Sandi thought about this, while treading water, a very serious ex
That "what the hell" attitude is what I most loved about Sandi, and still do in my mind today. None of life's little problems ever really bothered Sandi. She just let them roll off her back. She also found dozens of ways to find an excuse to plunge into the ocean, dressed as she was. Utterly spontaneous.
Another monster wave was just breaking.
So Sandi and I just dove in, and we swam until the stars came out.
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