Some dreams haunt you, some come true.
Nascent colors softly streaked the dawn as the first rays of the morning sifted through the pale hued clouds. "Scooter," Mark called but the small salt and pepper Schnauzer was preoccupied with chasing a lingering seabird that had been sitting just above the salt-rimmed water line.
"You silly boy," Mark exclaimed as he watched the bird unfold into the air. Scooter launched himself and seemed chagrined as he tumbled back onto the wet sand. With a quick shake of his bearded face, he happily turned to Mark with a look of pride as he trotted back, pretending he had just heard the call.
The dog bounded up and leapt into Mark's arms, covering the front of his sweatshirt with gleaming grains of sand and more than a few pieces of limp seaweed. "You nut," Mark laughed as he moved his head side to side trying to avoid Scooter's wet affection without success.
At 40, Mark was in great shape having avoided the paunch that had beset many of his peers through diet and exercise. The only indication of his age was a graying at the temples of his short, dark hair. As friends had remarked, he and Scooter had the same hair stylist.
"Come on, boy, let's finish our run." Setting Scooter down, he began a steady trot down the beach enjoying the fresh smell of the ocean that the onshore breeze was carrying with Scooter happily matching him stride for stride.
The rhythmic sound of the waves played a counterpoint to the steady "shush, shush" of his feet in the sand and before long, the half-mile to his house had passed. Mark slowed to a walk to cool down. Glancing about, he saw that Scooter had wandered off again. He needs obedience training! The thought crossed his mind, but with a lopsided grin, he knew it was insincere.
His thoughts strayed back in time. Just before the loss of his wife, Mark had gotten Scooter as a companion for Carolyn. It had never really worked, though. Scooter had adopted him and Carolyn had teased him about "alienation of affection." He was never sure if she was accusing him of stealing the dog's affection or the dog of stealing his. What he did know, however, was that he wouldn't have made it through her illness and sudden death without him.
I still miss her so much! The thought came, unbidden, to his mind.
Mimicking Scooter's earlier actions, he shook his head, pushing the sadness that threatened to come back out of his mind.
"Scoot man," he yelled. His call was answered by a distant barking sound. Shading his eyes, he saw the gray blur of the dog down near the water. What is he doing? Knowing the stubborn nature of his pal, he started walking toward the spot where Scooter was excitedly digging.
As he approached, the dog paused long enough to look at him – as if to say "Look what I found" – before returning to the patch of seaweed. The wet sand flew in a barrage of clumps as he refocused on his mission of the moment.
"Whatcha find, boy?" Mark said. Peering into the misshapen hole, Mark could make out the dull shine of glass or metal starting to appear. "Good boy!" he praised as he reached in to see what treasure "Cap'n Scooter" had found. The thought of Scoot as a little pirate brought the return of a smile to his face.
Grasping the cool curved form, he extracted a sand encrusted bottle. Running a hand over it, it glinted purple in the sun. It was not the purple of synthetic colors but the softer lilac of exposure over time.
"Well, congratulations!" He rubbed the dogs behind his ears – always a favorite spot – as he stood. "You've found flotsam!" The dog's ears pricked up at the sound. "Flotsam, flotsam," he chanted and Scooter began to bounce, dancing to the rhythmical sing-song.
Laughing at the dog's antics, Mark began moving. "Come on buddy. Time to go." He threw the comment over his shoulder as he headed back toward the house.
The sun was warm on his back as he walked up the nearest dune. The sky had turned a clear aquamarine. He saw patterned shadows cross and re-cross his path as seagulls played in the crystal air reminding him of the dolphins that frolicked in the waters off shore.
Curiosity finally winning, he lifted the bottle. The light sparkled off the remaining jewels of sand and he saw a gauzy movement inside. What's this? he thought. There's something in there.
Reaching the top of the bluff, he found a place to sit. The sea breeze whispered through the grasses in a gentle melody as he worried the cork from the opening with a diminutive "poof." Scooter, his rambunctiousness gone for the moment, came to sit beside him.
He shook the bottle and was rewarded as a yellowed piece of paper slid from the opening. Unfolding it with delicate purpose, he began reading the faint hand printed words that appeared.
An Ocean of Dreams
The moon inhales
pulling the sea to her breast
revealing her silent secrets.
A moment in time,
a moment of peace.
The placid ocean
embraces my dreams.
Inadequate words written
in a soul's ink with
laid gently on creation's
May these dreams find a home
in caring hands;
may they touch
a loving heart.
May the eyes of purity,
in love that's boundless
read and understand.
Suddenly, a flutter of wind broke the spell and Mark was astonished to see a tear drop slowly rolling down the paper. The words burned in his mind, in his heart.
They were the words of Carolyn.
He recalled how she had told him that years before they had met, she used to play "a game... a silly game of writing my thoughts, my dreams, and sending them to the sea." He had teased her about her romantic heart but had marveled at her beauty of spirit.
Now, the final stanza came back to him, sung in the voice of wind, written in shadow by the dancing grasses...
May you share my dreams
in the stillness
before the world awakes.
With the final words - her final words - echoing in his aching heart, a thought came to him. Her wish had come true.
An entry for "Fluttering Hearts" [13+]
Word Count: 1,053
Poem Line Count: 23
Form: Vers Libre