A bit of my current Work in Progress

          Sitting quietly, he flicks the ashes off of his cigarette, exhaling a curl of smoke. His eyes remain fixed on the unsuspecting woman. Brazenly drinking her in, comfortable that he is too far away from her to be noticed. That's what he prefers. Flying under the radar long enough to get a feel for a person before they see him. Getting a sense of who they really were before they became affected by who he is when they recognize him. It was a rare thing these days that someone didn't immediately know him, or think they did. Pulling his cap down further over his brow, he leans back into the over-sized Adirondack chair, settling in for a spell. A pony-necked beer sits at his feet, his best friend for the moment. There's just enough breeze coming off the water to offer relief from the sticky heat of the afternoon.

          The woman's movements are fluid and graceful. Moving almost like a dancer, comfortable in her own skin. He's drawn to her. Her laughter carries on the wind as it picks up, swirling the skirt of her long, white sundress around her tan legs. Her little dog races along the beach, barking wildly as it runs in and out of the incoming waves. Despite his foul mood, he finds himself smiling at the sound of her carefree laughter at the dog's antics. Her long blonde hair, loosely braided down her back, whips around in the breeze. Reaching up, she brushes back some escaped tendrils from her face and squats down to pet the dog. Sunglasses hide her eyes from him. Not that he could see the color from here anyway, but he wonders . . . blue, green, brown? He decides they're blue.

           As she stands back up, the left strap of her dress slides down her arm. Quickly, she reaches up and moves it back into place. The quick glimpse of white, creamy skin untouched by the sun, tells him she isn’t wearing much under the dress. He takes a quick swig of beer, as sweat beads up on his brow. He removes his cap, wipes it away with his arm, and settles the cap back on his head. She's a welcome distraction from the hell of a week he’s been having. First time in days he's able to relax a bit. Slowly, the kinks in his neck and shoulders start loosening up, from the sun, the beer, and her. Picking up the notebook and pen from the table beside him, he opens it, pen poised to write.

          The empty page of his notebook taunts him, and he finds himself watching her again. Foamy waves wash over her feet as she walks along the waterline. Pausing every now and then, she picks up a seashell and slips it into the pocket of her dress. Walking along, she kicks at the water like a care-free child. Reaching into the sea, she scoops up a handful of water and splashes it at the dog, who scurries out of reach. Again, her laughter coaxes a smile out of him. The sound of it stirs something in him.

          Walking back towards where he's sitting, she and her little dog sit down on the blanket she's laid out. Pouring some water into a bowl, she offers the dog a drink. Dropping down on the blanket beside the dog, she hikes the skirt of her sundress up high on her already golden legs, offering them to the sun for browning. Leaning back, she tilts her face to the sun and soaks in its warmth. Happiness radiates from the relaxed smile on her face. There's a soothing peacefulness about her. Taking another drink of beer, he polishes it off with a thirsty pull. His eyes never leave her. He watches her take out a pad and pencil from the bright yellow tote bag beside her. Pushing her sunglasses back up her nose, she bends her head down and starts writing.

          Thinking about his own writer’s block, frustration swells inside him again. Needing to get something down on paper today, the stress wraps around him like a noose. The melody just isn’t coming to him, and the damn deadline looms. He's overthinking things again, stressing himself out. Walking back into the house, he rummages around in the refrigerator, pulling out a six-pack. Reaching over as an afterthought, he scoops up his ukulele and walks back outside. The woman is no longer sitting on the blanket. She and her dog are gone. Setting the beer and ukulele down, he quickly scans the waterline looking for her. A surprising disappointment rises in him when he can't find her. He makes his way down the ramp onto the sand. Turning to look across the dunes, he pulls his cap down further onto his head. Shielding his eyes from the sun out of habit, even though he wears Ray-Bans, he looks along the crowded area by the water's edge. Still no sight of her. Damn. He decides to walk a little ways, see if she has headed toward the front of the beach, more toward the highway. Without asking himself why, he sets out looking for her.