Josh stretched his lean body to wake it up from the long night’s sleep. With his eyes still closed he stumbled reluctantly into the bathroom and splashed his face with cold water to try and shake loose the tentacles of his dream. This dream was a new one for him, as was the fantastic blonde that he encountered. At thirty, he was expecting to meet what the old woman had called his “one”, but he hadn’t expected to meet her in such a clear dream, on a beach that felt so familiar and so foreign at the same time. He also didn’t expect her to be so gloriously sensuous and enticing, those platinum blonde curls, those long tan legs, and those oh so sexy hazel eyes that stripped him down to his soul and bared all of his secrets. She was a ten right down to those two sexy dimples.
The summer Josue turned seventeen; his parents shipped him off to spend the summer with his Grandpa Raoul in Siesta Key, just south of Sarasota, Florida. The beach had been nice at first but the summer had quickly become sticky, hot and every body movement became tedious. Josh’s grandpa finally told him to get his butt off of the couch and go for a walk.
“Go! I don’t want you back here for at least and hour. Go flirt with a pretty girl, go explore the beach. I don’t care, if you sit here any longer you’ll grow into the couch and I’ll never be rid of you!” He stomped his feet and waved his hands at Josh as is he were a wayward cat. Josh ambled out of the house laughing at his grandfather’s antics. Rather than going to the restaurant and flirting with the pretty waitresses, he headed down the beach. As he walked he thought about all the things he was missing at home. Shadyside was a small town, right on the Ohio River. His friends were probably cruising for chicks on the loop, or down at the river swimming and boating with the invariable group of girls in skimpy bikinis fawning for male attention. As he lazily rambled down the beach he didn’t notice the first few fat drops of rain hit the sand in front of him. Then, when a drop hit him on the nose and slid down his face, he looked up to see a summer storm blowing in over the advancing waves. Josh desperately looked for some shelter from the quickly progressing storm and saw a rickety beach shack to his right and ran to take cover under the sagging porch roof. He slumped against the door as the exhaustion from his sudden exertion hit his legs. BAM! The door of the shack flew open and knocked him half way to the steps. A little old woman with a gnome like face and gnarled fingers stepped out of the door and looked at him with sharply accusing blue eyes.
“Who are you to be bounding up and down an old woman’s steps, waking her from her nap?”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean to wake you; I was just getting out of the rain. I didn’t know that anyone lived here.”
“Hmph, well boy, since you are here make you useful, come inside and help me, a nasty branch has cracked my window and all my pictures are getting wet.”
Josh held the door open for her and stepped in to a cluttered living area. Everywhere he looked were pictures, ranging from middle-aged men and women, all the way down to kids his age. He looked around him with wondering eyes; she just didn’t seem like a person to have such a huge family. The button mushroom of a woman returned to the living room with cardboard, tape, and a broom. Josh took the broom and swept up the jagged glass and covered the gaping hole with the cardboard and taped it in place. The old lady sighed in relief and motioned that he should take a seat and not worry about cleaning up the glass.
“Why don’t you build us a fire in the grate to dry the storm out of the air?”
Josh soon had a small fire going in the grate and the chill of the passing storm was chased away. He took a seat across from the woman and looked at her expectantly; he had a feeling that she had a story to share. She blinked fading blue eyes magnified by thick lenses and settled deeper into her chair as she began her story.
“Many, many years ago, when I was a young girl, I was struck with a nasty virus. My family thought that I was surely going to leave them. In their grief over losing their only child they brought the town’s healer in to see if she could do anything the modern doctors could not do to save my life. The healer was respected and feared far and wide, for it was thought that she’d sold her soul for her great gifts. Even the skeptics gave her a wide berth and made gifts to her to avoid her ‘evil eye’. She came to my bedside and prayed her strange prayers, and applied her foul smelling tonics to my fevered body. Three days this went on and then my fever began to break. As I became aware of the world again, she exacted a promise from me in payment for her good work. She asked me to become her successor and to follow a path of loneliness. I, in my gratefulness, agreed at once. When I was strong enough to stand and to eat on my own, we left the town and my grateful but confused family, never to see them again. The healer, whose name was Sia, taught me all she knew about healing and nature, and then she told me what my path was to be. I became a Sea Hag, that is, a creature that exists out of normal time and space, who only comes into contact with the outside world when her skills in matchmaking and heart healing are needed. That’s why you were able to visit with me today. You are the answer to an unspoken prayer.”
“I don’t understand. I’m just a person, what can I do to help someone I don’t even know?”
“You don’t have to do anything right now, just live your life and follow the path that has been laid for you, when the time is right she will come for you in your deepest dreams.”
“I can’t do that, what if I screw it all up, what if I dream of the wrong girl? What if I forget the dream? What if we aren’t right for each other?”
“I will make it easier for you, when you pass your thirtieth spring, she will come into your dreams. Take care that you don’t give anything of your self away; this girl is nothing if not stubborn. On your third meeting, introduce yourself and the love will blossom in her heart.”
“What if I don’t like her, or she has a husband by then?”
“When something is meant to be, it will be. She is the ‘one’ for you, as you are for her. Now you had better find your way home before your grandfather begins to worry.”
Josh stood up still shaking his head at the old woman’s words, wishing that he was already home so that he could pretend to forget this strange afternoon.
As he finished drying his face, Josh shook the last thoughts of the past away and focused on the day ahead. The alarm began to play a Tom Petty tune from the other room, he rolled the tension out of his shoulders, pulled some clothes out of the laundry basket, and threw them on hurridly. Josh had a lot of work ahead of him today. An impatient honk outside the window had him jamming a hat on his head and rushing out the door, only to spin around at the last minute running to the kitchen to feed poor Bob who waited patiently at the top of his tank, believing with all the faith a turtle could muster that Josh wouldn’t forget him again. Josh took a moment to watch Bob happily chow down. At the sound of another, if possibly more impatient honk from downstairs, he dashed out the door pausing only to avoid his neighbor’s cat lying in the middle of the stairwell.
With a grin to the driver, Josh was in the car and off for a long day of hustling, trash talking and hopefully a little green!