An Ordinary Summer Day

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone's popsicle melting.... view prompt

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Nancy had decided she had done enough this morning; she needed a break. Housekeeping was just not her metier. She was too young to waste a beautiful sunny day with doing the obvious chores such as laundry, hoovering, and not to forget, cleaning a few windows. Of course, she appreciated her own efforts when she took the time to observe the results. Still, she realized just how much she thoroughly relished being able to go to work the following day.  

Nancy had been working for the community rescue centre for the last five years. That was when she had severed her bonds from the family home at 25, needing a change in her life. She had travelled a bit, leaving the countryside behind her while looking for a small community on a waterfront. Passing through Kennebunkport, Maine one late afternoon, she decided to spend the night there having spotted the oceanfront peeking through between the shops as she drove along on Main street.  First she needed accommodation, a motel or a hotel, even a B & B would do.

Miraculously, one thing led to another. Nancy had parked by the local post office. She entered and asked the postal assistant if there was a B & B near by. Steve, stole a look at her before he gave her the directions to Annabel’s B & B about five blocks away on the oceanfront. He then suggested phoning to see if there was a free room. Nancy was thrilled, thanked Steve, turned on her heels and waved goodbye.

Next stop: Annabel's. It was a small B & B – eight rooms in all. Kennebunkport was a small community, presently it boasted of 3,639 inhabitants. It was still early in the season so not many tourists yet. School holidays would begin the following month. Annabel, being close in age to Nancy, took a shine to her. She gave Nancy a downstairs room with a terrace facing the ocean. The B & B was located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It would take about fifteen to twenty-minutes to get down the steep steps. That did not stop Nancy from a quick change into her bathing suit. She grabbed a beach towel out of her suitcase, slipped on her trainers and ran to the steps.

It really was a steep descent, "I have to be careful," Nancy’s unvoiced thoughts continued. "There must be an easier way," her one foot slipped a step. The next few steps were slippery and the wooden railing would give anyone splinters if they were not careful. Yeah, almost there, she took a deep breath and decided to jump from the last five steps that she could see. She landed on her bum. There were seven steps not five. Luckily, there was a nice sand bank to land in.

Taking deep breaths, she could not believe her luck; she felt so free. Viewing the scene in front of her, she picked out a couple of sailboats with their sails up and running. It was a pleasant breeze bouying her up as well. She ran to the water’s edge, took her trainers off, laid her towel down and dabbed her toes into the icy cold water of the Atlantic ocean. She could not wait to tell her mom about this place.

They had not spoken to each other since Nancy had left home. Her father, a stubborn mule, would take longer to forgive her abrupt departure. Her mother understood her, but Dad no way. It really was not her fault that she was an only child and a female at that! Dad took it for granted that she would marry a young farmer with whom she would take the farm over when he and mom retired. That was no life for her. Naturally, she loved her parents and loved growing up the way she did; could they not see though, there was more to life than working the land, fighting with the elements that time brought forth every now and then. She had never left Utah until that fateful day when she turned her back on her childhood home and family.

Oh marvelous this dip in the deep blue sea! She could not wait to explore this town. Perhaps Annabel would let her the room for a week or more? She would certainly ask, even beg. She ticked off a few more points to consider before making a final decision.

She had been travelling for six weeks, from one end of the states to the other. She was now in Maine, about two hours away from Boston. She became so excited as she remembered her history lessons on the beginnings of USA. Geography had fascinated her, much more than dry old math and physics. She would present her mom and dad with her diary this Christmas to give them a taste of this new world.

Well, time to get up those confound steps and find a place for dinner. Tomorrow she would take her time to learn more about this little old town on the coast of Maine.

Nancy had had a good night’s sleep with the ocean rumbling in her ears. She had felt so alive and safe. Dinner had been in a cosy diner, Pelican’s Walk; she had never eaten so much fresh fish as she had in the past ten days or so. Everything was so new to her; she drank a coffee, paid her bill and walked down Main Street. People were so friendly, greeting her and wishing her a pleasant evening. She even spotted the postal clerk, Steve walking with his girlfriend. It was Friday evening, naturally, people relaxed at the coming weekend.

Walking nearer to the information billboard, she made several discoveries upon reading it. There was an easier way to get down to the ocean from the cliff. There was an elevator, 'Imagine that,' she thought, 'and it was not so far away from her B & B. Wow, look there,' she exclaimed silently, an advert for schooling in rescue operations. They were now taking in applications. She thought feverishly, "Why not, I can do this, I’ve got my lifesaver licence. My money should last a bit longer, if not, I’ll have to find a part-time job."

The next day you found Nancy prompt at 8 am on the doorstep to the rescue school. Thirty minutes later you found her grinning and strutting like a peacock. She would begin school the following week. She also took on a lifesaver position at the local beach which they had offered her to work in-between her schooling. All was running so smoothly. And so life continued, five years later, living close to Annabel’s, but in her own little bungalow.

Yes, indeed, time for a break, it was going on 2 pm, she had had no lunch and little breakfast. She decided on a coffee and something cool and refreshing. Walking down to the freezer, she pulled out an orange-mango popsicle. Coffee in hand, she sat herself down on a bench she had placed near to the cliff. "My that coffee hits the spot," in between she licks her popsicle, and wonders how to finish off her day. She's staring into the distance, she hears a crowd gathered below, "sounds like moaning," she wonders aloud. "What in the world," she felt a dampness on her leg, hears more moans and slight cries rising up to catch her attention. Minutes tick away, the temperature is in the 80's, once again this damp feeling appears as suddenly the whole popsicle slides down her neck. "A slight shock but no time for this now, I've got to get down there to see if I'm needed."

Nancy ran into the house, grabbed her duffelbag with her bathing gear and minor rescue equipment such as flares and first aid kit among other things. She ran down to the elevator, the quickest route available. When she arrived there was her boss, Lance‚ "Glad to see you Nan. Let's go, we have to take the boat out." They managed to divide their chores as they raced towards the sail boats, each knowing what needed to be done. 

Lance had received a radio Mayday call. One boat had lost its skipper, apparently they had had a run in with sharks, you saw the blood flowly and dissolving by the boats, in and out, in and out. Two years ago Nancy had had a similar situation to deal with. There she had been able to get into the water to help the injured man. This time, it looked to be too late. It was pure folly to jump into the water once there was so much blood. They dropped a net hoping to find the skipper, dead or alive. The other sail boat was manned by two teenagers, who were in a state of shock; the skipper overboard was their father. 

Lance got the two boys to help pull and drag the net. Nancy spotted a dark form, "Man or fish?" She pulled out a large fish hook on a longer pole. She edge toward the form, managed to turn it over. "Lance, it's him, pull him up now!" Meanwhile, Nancy used the hook to ward off any sharks within the net. On board, it was not a pretty sight, he had lost his arm, Lance tried to patch the gaping hole. Nancy tried to revive the skipper. The boys huddled together and watched the proceedings still in shock. 

They tied the boats together. Lance took over the teenagers and sailed both boats in while Nancy took the rescue cruiser in together with the injured man. Upon arrival, the ambulance was waiting. They quickly took the skipper into hospital. Nancy then took over the teenagers, After a modicum of comfort, she drove them first home to speak with their mother and shortly thereafter to the hospital.

It was not an experience that caused any joy. Nancy knew that they would need some TLC. The skipper did not survive. Lance and Nancy had done their best; after returning the family to their home, Nancy went back to work and helped to clean up their rescue boat as well as completing the administration forms, contacting the local police, and photographing the two sail boats that had been involved. 

"All in a day’s work," reflected Nancy as she returned to her bungalow several hours later. The water was calm as she glanced at it, "I sure don’t feel like cooking. Suppose I try to relax with a new cup of coffee and another popsicle. I hope to finish this one before it melts and slides down my front!" 

August 07, 2020 21:34

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