Creola's Moonbeam
Not once had I seen them unmatched or unattached. I assumed the couple held hands not for safety’s sake, but because it came naturally.
    More than once, I almost stopped them so we could talk. I wanted to get to know them. I yearned to hear their story, their stories, to learn the secrets of such tender love and obvious devotion. I never followed through with my plan because it seemed intrusive.
    Rather, I delighted in making up fairytales of the couple’s life together; about how they had worked hard but happily toward their mutually determined dreams, and now, how they looked forward to every break of dawn.
    I knew they must surely appreciate music of every kind, along with literature, the classics for certain, and poetry, too. He likely tinkered with tools, woodworking perhaps? She, or better, the two of them, painted pictures of the shore. It was a given that they kept a garden.
    I fantasized that they had moved around the country, finally settling into a charming retirement cottage by the Gulf of Mexico, one overflowing with music, art, photographs, books, and fresh flowers.
    Creola whispered to me. Honey, you lazy girl, always making up stories are you! You should be writing .
    As if on cue, Beatrice strode up behind me. “Well, hello there!”
    I halted, startled. “And how are you today?”
    “I’m just fine, as fine as a fiddle, particularly because my darling Jennings is set to arrive anytime now. But, you Harriette, how are you?”
    “How could I be anything but happy on such a beautiful morning?”
    Beatrice looked at her watch. “Agreed! It is a gorgeous day, my new young friend, and I can see that I have exactly the perfect amount of time for a walk with you. What do you say we take a pleasant chat-walk?”
    “Chat-walk? Oh, I see. Sorta like a cat walk but with words?”
    “A clever play on words, dear. Off we go!”
    We strolled up the beach. “So Beatrice, what are your plans for your son’s visit?”
    “Well, I’ll just have to wait and see what he wants of me. Usually the poor boy is so exhausted when he arrives that he simply collapses on the porch in order to rebuild his energy and his creativity. Jennings is a starving artist, you see. Actually, he’s not starving. He works as an accountant in corporate America by day. Mercifully, he feeds his soul by night with his writing. I eagerly await someone’s discovery of him, a great talent is my Jennings.”
    I didn’t hear the last part; I was hung up with that word. “Writing.”
    Beatrice stopped, picked up a shell, and said, “Now, dear, take a look at this shell. Here’s a curious mystery for us to ponder. Don’t you just have to wonder what kind of interesting creature lives inside this lovely house?” She put the shell to her eye. “Anybody home?”
    I didn’t have the heart to tell her the shell was empty, that a seagull had probably eaten the inhabitant. This wise old beachcomber was idealistic in so many ways, ways that endeared her to me.
    Beatrice sighed at my smiling silence. “Sometimes I speculate that my house is but a shell, too. And one of these days a giant will come along and pick it up to peek inside. Most assuredly, that fellow will amuse himself with the lifestyle of a certain Beatrice!”
    “Will the giant find you at home?”
    “But, of course; I couldn’t bear to miss such an event!”
    “Beatrice, I’m very curious about your shell. I doubt you are among us ordinary condo dwellers.”
    “No, I’m not, but I do know how divine those condos are. Actually, they hadn’t begun to build condominiums when I started coming here. I came by ship with Ponce de Leon!”
    “You must have discovered the Fountain of Youth.”
    “Harriette, you are a honey.”
    “Okay, now I know you must be a psychic! My friends call me ‘Honey.’ My real name is Honey Newberry. I don’t know why I didn’t tell you that in the first place. Harriette is my given name.”
    “Bully then, Honey it is. I must add that you look

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