|BWS Stories - Contest Winners|
Contest Winners - The Dimpled Fin - Summer of 1970
Angelika Schwarz, a former Bostonian, has been residing, in Bavaria Germany, for the last thirty years. She has just completed her first Romance/Suspense novel; Half-Moon Shadows, which hopefully will be published within the next coming year. Mother of two and grandmother, she divides her time between her real-estate-business, family, and endless hobbies, including chatting on the Boomer Forum.
The Dimpled Fin - Summer of 1970
"Joy to the World," the year's hit blasted for the umpteenth time out of the car radio. All windows and the car top were down in the rusty, blue, Dodge convertible. Bare feet, adorned with hot pink nail polish, rested on the dashboard. It was unusual that we both had a break, from flying at the same time. Mary and I were stewardesses at Pan Am. We had a "complete" day off, which meant we didn't have to be glued to the phone, to be on call.
"Let's do something exciting!" I pulled her big flowered bed cover off her and onto the floor. "Ride-on!" Mary said. She immediately sat up and ruffled her short blond hair. "Let's drive to the Gulf Coast!"
We slipped our mini beach dresses over our neon pink bikinis, slung our Mexican-canvas bags over our bare shoulders, and plopped wide-brimmed floppy hats onto our heads. The only touch of make- up that day was black eye-liner and pale – pink; almost white lipstick, to accentuate our Florida tans.
We were roommates stationed near Miami Airport. Just the thought of taking a drive across the state of Florida was more thrilling than our usual shuttle flights to the Caribbean or South America. There we were; one 20 year old and a twenty-two year old stewardess, in the prime of our lives; just living for the moment, and enjoying what we thought would be a beautiful summer day in Florida.
Mary sped along the Alligator Highway. Seemed like we were the only people alive, no cars behind us no cars coming towards us. We sang along with the radio; "… joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea….."
"Here," Mary handed me the cheap cold Bali wine. "Something to lubricate the vocal chords with."
I chugged a couple of mouthfuls, "Mmm, better than honey."
The road seemed endless, but the time went fast. We were keenly aware of the warm wind in our non-sprayed hair, the happy hazy feeling from the wine. Just Mary and me, two best friends, and the world; - We owned it.
"Do you know where you're going, Mary?" I asked.
"We'll stop, as soon as we get to a beach." Mary lay far back in the driver's seat and grabbed the steering wheel between her bare feet. In slow wide left and right swerves, she waltzed the car along the country highway. "Do you know which beach?" "No silly … but it's the Gulf Coast … it's all beach." Mary was the boss between us two. She was two years older … and her voice was deeper than mine. I sat back into the plastic seat, and hung one leg out over the door.
The sun was just beginning to set, as we rolled onto the sand straight ahead of us. We climbed out of the car, shed our dresses, sticky and crumpled from the ride, and ran into the cool water. I had to walk a long way in to get over my head. I turned to see if Mary was following me, but instead I saw her hopping up and down like a Jumping Jack on the beach.
I dove under to cool my head and surfaced, wondering why she wasn't in the water yet. Between thick wet strands of hair, I watched Mary run in a frenzied pattern, to the edge of the water and back again. She was screaming something. I was too far away and couldn't make out the words. Out of the blue, I watched two young men appear from between high bushes that grew along the coastline.
I started to swim to shore. Oh no, I thought. Those hippies are threatening her. But then the guys started to yell as well and then I heard the word; "shark."
Maybe it was the shock of my overheated body in the cool water, maybe it was the Bali wine and or the sun that beamed down on my head all day long, but I didn't panic. I looked around, and there it was; a shark fin, with a dent, like a dimple at the top; swimming about ten feet behind me. Without splashing, I breast swam to the beach; the shark behind me, maintaining the same distance between us. As soon as I could stand I walked onto shore. The shark turned, the fin disappeared and left as quietly as he came.
"Oh my God", Mary cried. "Didn't you see what was following you?" She buckled onto her knees into the soft white sand.
The two strangers looked at me as if I were an apparition appearing before them. The setting sun transformed the three into dark blue shadows.
"Far out! A shark! What a trip, man," one of the hippies said. "Seeing you cumin' outta the water like that; so slow and cool. Freaked me out."
"Yeah, and the sun shining on you girl, all golden." said the other hippie. "Looked like one big halo around ya, man."
The only thing that entered my mind was one of the songs we had been repeatedly hearing on the radio along our drive. I began to sing softly: "Put your hand in the hand of the man that stilled the waters"… Mary got up and started to sing with me; "Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the seas." We all embraced; Mary, me, and the two hippies, that came from nowhere.
Close to tears, I untwined my arms from the others and turned towards the ocean. Between cupped hands, I called out in a choked voice: "Thank you dear, dumb, dimpled, shark for letting me live." I felt like the chosen one, and began a slow dance. The two hippies joined me, chanting something about the queen of sharks.
From the peaceful waters a splash resounded. Mary grasped my arm. "Look, over there! Your shark is back!" She burst out laughing, "And … he's smiling!"
In the hazy evening light, the four of us watched a lonely dolphin emerge high up and out of the water; just long enough for us to see his friendly smile. He swam close to shore. Close enough for us to see the dimpled fin on his rounded gleaming back, before he glided back into the dark silky sea.
We sat on the beach a long time; hoping that our new friend would return. The magic of the night encompassed us as we spoke in hushed tones, under the stars. We were in awe of nature and its spell-bounding mysteries. Our smiling friend didn't return that night, but he left behind a sprinkle of enchantment in our hearts, that has never faded.