I was wading in the surf on Matagorda beach one warm, sunny day while exchanging dialogue with Clara.￼
I had known Clara for about ten years and I have to admit, conversing with her was like pulling teeth. I don’t want to say she was dull, but she was too quiet and a tad introverted.
Don’t get me wrong, Clara is a lovely girl. She is smart and pretty and sweet and kind, but she was just too darn nice for the most part. Too calm, too reasonable, too… dull! There, I said it!
Anyway, as I was wading in the surf, dragging my feet (literally to scatter the sting rays) I was thinking how I might kill her.
I know that must sound horrible, we had been comrades for so long, but she wearied me.
Her unspoiled, hoity-toity, prim and proper,everything by the bookpersonality made me want to send her sailing face down with the outgoing tide. I think she knew it (she has that sixth sense thing, you know).
I didn’t expect Clara to fight me; it wasn’t in her nature. She had been so silent and distant; it seemed she had given up on life and maybe she wanted to die?
I had mulled it over and over in my mind for weeks and finally I had come to terms with my decision. Clara no longer served an identifiable purpose and she must be done away with.
Suddenly the voice of a perky little blonde caught my attention; she was running down the beach waving and shouting,
“Hey y’all, wait for me.”
Oh my lord,I thought, while trying to ignore the thin, tanned Mississippian’s approach.
I have to do it now – get it over with.
I hurriedly pushed Clara toward the incoming wave but she didn’t budge; her feet were planted too firmly.
“Don’t make this difficult!” I coaxed her, “just relax and go with the sea. It will be over and we – I can move on.”
I filled my lungs with sweet, salty air and dug my feet into the sand.
I was thinking, I’ll push her outfar enough forthe current to carry her away. I knew where the current was rushing dangerously below the surface, just past the sand bar.
I grabbed her shoulders and pushed, harder this time. And again, she did not move! Worse than that and to my surprise the quiet, zest-less little mouse pushed back!
“Hey! Hey!” The Mississippian yelled, “What the hell are you doing? Leave her alone!”
I’m not sure why I obliged this person whom I had never met, but I stepped back.
I studied Clara, standing there quiet and unshaken. Her eyes fixed on mine and oddly, I no longer saw her as the timid, boring little thing I wanted to kill. I recognized the quiet strength she had held all along.
“Do you know her?” I asked, referring to the woman approaching us.
Clara shook her head slowly and smiled, “No but you do. You met her on a trip to Biloxi once.”
I was speechless.
“Hey, I’m Maggie,” the lady smiled as she looked past me and held out her hand, “you must be Clara.”
I suppose it’s true that opposites attract. I watched Maggie come alive and in doing so she saved Clara.
*This is a story about a story. Clara and Maggie are safe and sound (for the most part) inside a fictionalseries.