It could be any late Sunday afternoon, one of those when my father might be home, barbecuing chicken, though the forecast is for thunderstorms. He sits in a lawn chair, shirtless beside the palmetto palm, a can of Schlitz in one hand, his latest issue of Time in the other, folded back over itself. The chicken always takes very, very long, and we’re always waiting. Perhaps it’s because he started the charcoal too late or my mother put the potatoes in the oven too early. They discuss this every time.
At that time on a Sunday, I am usually walking home alone barefoot on hot asphalt up from the beach at the end of the street. It’s not one of those soft, fine-grained white beaches rich with quartz sand where families usually go. Instead, this sand is coarse, brownish tan with the shells of tiny animals worn down to grains by millions of waves. The coquina reef just below the sand bares itself close to the water’s edge, stark at low tide, or at high tide scraping your legs if you forget while swimming and kick too hard.
Walking toward the black afternoon thunderheads, the heat letting up just a little, I round the corner to Albatross Drive, noting whether my father’s car is in the driveway, whether we are having chicken tonight. And if not, my mother and brother and I will eat once-frozen chicken pot pies and wait for “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” to come on as the foaming thunderheads move over the house and leave behind a great humid silence.
Copyright, 2016, Linda S. Buckmaster