She ran faster, kicking up more remnants of days gone by. Her body grew smaller as it zigzagged across the beach. He ran as fast as he could after her but his legs weren’t as conditioned, his endurance not nearly as bold. Stopping just short of the bountiful Pacific, she fell face-first into an embankment, her lapse of sadness submerged in a plot of sandy earth. Finally he reached her, dived headfirst into the embankment. Blindly, he reached for her hand. After regaining his breath he let a few moments of silence pass. Then, “Andrea, please say something,” he said.
Slowly, her face, roughened up a bit by granules and fragments of days past, rose above the surface. She stared into his eyes. “Why did my granddaddy have to leave me?” He turned his head, spat out a mouthful of grit. He then took a deep breath. “Andrea,” he said, “your granddaddy’s still with you. Believe me, I know.” He rolled over onto his back and gazed into the sky. “It’s true,” he continued. “Your grandfather will always be with you. Even if you are not able to see him, he’s still with you.”
Looking at themselves in history’s light, they saw not only the past but perhaps an uncertain future. But what he wanted most from the future was the chance to continue being the man he had become; a man who still wanted to believe in miracles and although he had probably missed out on a few of them, he still shouldered a certain faith. Another thing he wanted from the future was the chance to continue being godfather to Andrea. It was one of his greatest honors and he relished the privilege of “being there” for her. And he was also happy for Krystal. She, too, felt privileged to have Andrea as a goddaughter.
As the condominium came into view he paused. He looked at Andrea. “I’m so glad that your mom and dad chose me and Krystal to be your godparents,” he said. “It is such an honor.” She looked up at him.
“Yeah,” Andrea said, “I was so happy when my mommy and daddy asked you and Krystal to be my godparents.”
“It was one of the happiest days of my life, Andrea. And I truly mean that. Do you want to know something?”
“What’s that, Ricky?”
“You remind me a lot of myself when I was about your age. It’s hard to explain but when I was seven or eight years old . . .”
Andrea got up and brushed herself off. She probably wondered what he was saying. She looked as if she didn’t quite understand. “But he can’t be,” she moaned. “My granddaddy’s not with me. He’s dead.” She began to cry again. “And I miss him so much. He was the best granddaddy in the whole world.”
Ricky got up, wrapped his arm around her shoulders. With the sun breaking through the clouds, warmth fell on them once again as they walked slowly back toward the condominium. Their hearts, minds, and souls were bared to time’s reflection and together they focused on the mirror that hung precipitously before them.
Andrea jerked forward, stopping him from continuing with his thoughts. “Look Ricky, here comes Krystal!” she said.
Krystal, who had just finished picking flowers, stopped just short of stepping onto the sandy terrain. She was wearing open-toed shoes and didn’t want sand to get trapped beneath her soles.
Krystal had never been a beach-goer. She preferred to sit under an elm with a good book rather than sit under a blazing sun on a hot bed of sand looking at half-naked people frolic about. Krystal looked at them and shook her head.
“What happened? It looks like you two have been rolling around in a sand dune.” Ricky laughed.
“We were just building sandcastles,” he replied.
“So that’s it! Anyway, we better get going, don’t you think?”
“What time is it?” He had now lost all track of time.
“Eight-thirty,” Krystal answered.
Strapped in the little Geo rental, he engaged the gears and pulled out onto Rte. 56.
Past a colorful array of taro fields and along the Coconut Coast they ventured, joining Rte. 50 for a spell along the southern points.
Krystal, who was next to him, was encountering with her eyes the magnificence of it all.
Andrea, who held the back seat captive, was leaning toward the open window, her long hair waving in the wind.
Riding the hairpins, they cornered the Kauai ledges with enchanted stares. Beheld in their gaze, the triumphs of Nature’s touch spanned across the way.