Jacob Stark leaned against the deck railing holding a steaming cup of coffee in his left hand. A brisk cold breeze wiped his face and he could not think of anywhere else he would rather be at the moment. He needed the cool breeze of the Atlantic Ocean to remind him on just how blessed his life had become.    

  In the front pocket of his red flannel shirt was a cigar he planned to light up as soon as the sun began to rise. He awoke early every morning to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic, watch the waves tumble over the sand and to enjoy the oceans breeze. The familiar sounds of living on the ocean gave him a peace from within and he could no longer imagine living anywhere else.

  He was waiting for Lisa to wake up and join him out on the deck. He kept looking over his shoulder, hoping she would be out soon to watch the sunrise with him.

  Before leaving the bedroom, he watched her sleep for a minute wondering if God himself had brought them together. Soon she would walk out in her white robe, wearing her white slippers and would wrap her arms around him to keep warm. On the very first day they met, he saw in her eyes a connection to God and the Universe around him. Only one other woman had ever captivated him in that way.   

   Their daughter, Savannah was sleeping at Grandpa Nick’s house. They would be leaving shortly for a day at the Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, and then Nick was going to take her to the mountains of North Carolina, somewhere around Asheville to see an old army buddy.

  He missed her already and had almost checked in on her as soon as he woke up to see if she was sleeping peacefully. It was not going to be easy not seeing her around the house.    

  Between Lisa working long hours at the animal hospital, and him writing his latest novel, plus working on the beach house, and at times helping the church band practice; the time they spent together was almost nonexistent, so they made a date to meet on the deck and watch the sunrise. Later they would drive to the “Sea Side Diner” located on the north end of the island and have a nice breakfast while they made plans for their alone time. They had no plans as of yet and Jacob had told her to just let the wind take them where they needed to go. And the diner would be a great place to start.

  At least that was the plan.   

  Jacobs’s life had changed drastically seven years earlier, and on quiet mornings like this one, he found himself reminiscing what his life had been like before he drove down to Topsail Island to go fishing. He figured it would be a good place to contemplate what he was going to do with the rest of his life. It was a time in his life when he had come to a crossroad and he needed time to decide which way to go. In some ways, it was the scariest time in his life when he really had no plans for his future.

  Jacob rarely got too caught up on what was going to happen next in his life. For him, life was an adventure and hopefully a long journey that would take him into old age with no regrets. But he had to admit, he felt apprehensive for a short period of time.      

  He was an old musician who never made it to the big time; never signed that multimillion-dollar recording contract. Nevertheless, he never considered himself a failure. The band traveled up and down the east coast playing in old bars, Juke joints, clubs, and music festivals in towns and cities he had never heard of before in his life.

  They left Charlotte North Carolina with a dream and a lot of talent. There had been no promises from anyone that they would even make a living playing music, but that didn’t stop them from living their dream. After a few years of making a name for themselves, living on what small amounts of what they made in small bars, it wasn’t long before they began making a comfortable living. They had fans up and down the east coast and part of the mid west.  It was an extraordinary time for them all. They lived a lifestyle that other people only dreamed of living and they came out of that lifestyle alive and well, with many stories to tell. They had recorded six live CD’s and were written about in over a dozen Magazines and College newspapers and not to mention local papers in small towns and cities. DJ’s for radio stations’ asked them to go on the air and describe what it was like to live on the road playing in a Rock-N-Roll band. The reviews were always good and they were well liked.

  From the time, he was twenty years old until he was thirty-two, he lived in a motor home, cheap motels, or hotels, and he slept little and stayed up late.  Later the band toured in an expensive bus that was a gift from their road manager, and they lived like Royalty for the next ten years; all they had to do was play and enjoy life. There were some ups and downs in the process, but in most cases there were more ups than downs.    

  At times, their diet consisted of junk food, beer, whiskey, and there was always a girl or two in every town. They ate in truck stops, roadside diners, and a café or two. Now he drank coffee in the morning, had a wife and five year old daughter and not to mention a spoiled dog. However, back in the day, it was a shot of tequila to get him jump-started. They lived and breathed the lifestyle of rock n roll musician’s; they had long hair and dressed the part and loved every minute of it until they realized they needed more out of life than wild parties and hangovers. It was time to settle down and more importantly grow up, and find other opportunities in life. Music would always be a big part of their lives but not the only thing.  They had concluded that maybe the big day would never come and they decided to call it quits. It was not a hard decision to make. They had become tired and rundown; burnouts who no longer loved what they did. When playing music became too much like work it was time to get out and do something else.    

   There were no regrets.

  When people asked Jacob what he did before moving to the island, he was always happy to answer them with a smile, and say he was the former drummer of the rock band, “The Syndicate”, and they would always ask more questions, and he would make a new friend. They were intrigued and always wanted to know what life was like playing music for a living. Living out of a bus and sleeping in motels and hotels. He never met anyone who did not like some type of music and a good story. He never got tired of telling stories about the fun times and hard times out on the road. He had actually thought of it as living an old Gypsy lifestyle and he for some reason was drawn to that way of life.

  In his first book, Titled “Side Show”, a written journey of a traveling band, he wrote down as his introduction something he found written on a bathroom wall back stage in a club called “Night Moves.”  


  Music reaches people in ways that nothing else on this earth can. It reaches right into people’s hearts, right into their souls and it touches things that nothing else can reach. Music can work miracles. Music is one of the most powerful vehicles for change that the world has ever known. Music is what dreams are made of. 


  He never met the girl who wrote it, but he made a promise to himself that if he ever did he was going to thank her for sharing her thoughts on the power of music. It was signed by someone named “Kathy” and he figured she was someone who worked at the club. He asked the staff at the club but no one knew who she was. He remembered the ink looking fresh as if it was written down only minutes before he noticed it and wondered if it had been written just for him.  Maybe she was a singer in a band, or just a bathroom wall poet? Maybe one day he would discover who she was and thank her. In his life, stranger things had happened; much stranger things. He thought about Kathy on his journey and imagined her as a woman who had no home, but could always find a place to stay. He hoped she was not a runaway and was safe out there somewhere. Maybe she had a gift of writing something inspirational down where ever she stopped on her journey.

  Kathy became the main character in one of his short stories one day and the readers of his books sent letters wanted to know more about her. He hoped that by chance that she would walk into his life one day. He thought of her as his friendly guardian angel and hoped that one day she would appear to him when he least expected it. 

  An old Gypsy woman had once cornered him after a late night gig and told him that his life would be one of great Mystery and wonderful joy. He would lead a life other people envied and everyday he would receive great blessings from the God above. However, she added before walking away, that there would also be great sorrow and he would always need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

  He shivered every time he thought of that moment. For some reason she had made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end.

  However he did include her prediction in his book.

  She wouldn’t be the only Gypsy woman he would encounter in his life. There would be plenty of others. One beautiful young Gypsy girl would always appear in a dream. He was standing near a lake that was round with water so clear that he could see the bottom; a green bottom with what looked like tall green grass that swayed underneath the water as if they were alive and knew of his presence. He heard music in the back ground or rather beautiful voices humming. Humming that gave him peace and he felt love surrounding him.

  It was the moment in the dream when he was watching the green grass sway, hypnotized by their movements and the humming that he heard a splashing sound from the middle of the pond. Looking up, he sees a girl swimming his way, and when she gets to the shallow water she rises up and walks toward him wearing a green bikini and her hair was short and black as the night sky. She walks over to him and reaches out and puts her hand to his face and rubs it while looking into his eyes. He stares at her in disbelief as the warmth of her hand soothes his skin, when she removes her hand she walks to his side, turns to look at him. She winks with her left eye and it was then he noticed her eyes were also as green as the grass below the water.

  The dream always ended the same way; she would walk away into a bright white cloud and then thunder would roar in the distance and she disappears. He would then wake up and wonder if the dream meant anything or was it just a dream and why would he always have the dream when a thunderstorm had passed through the night.

  Someday he would find the answer to that question.

  He really didn’t miss his old life; for him it was like an old friend that would never return. Traveling in a tour bus had its ups and downs and living on the road became old after a while. He had no desire to return to that way of life and once Savannah was born, he tossed the dream of becoming a famous musician out the window.

  He checked the time on his watch and glanced over his shoulder at the sliding glass door, hoping to see Lisa walk out. The sun was starting to peak out over the Atlantic, and he hoped she would make it out before it rose.  He pulled out the cigar, placed it in his mouth, reached in his pocket for his lighter, pulled it out and lit the cigar holding his hand around the flame so the breeze wouldn’t blow it out; he gave it a few puffs and watched as two fishermen were making their way down to the edge of the water to set up their gear in the sand. The month of October brought an army of fishermen to the Island and soon the beach would be full of four wheel drive trucks, large coolers and more rod and reels than most sporting good stores carried at one time.    

  The beach house was a gift from a stranger; given to them when Lisa was three months pregnant. The giver had asked to be kept anonymous as was specified by the lawyer who had ridden down to the Island on a Harley Davidson Motor cycle; the house was a wedding gift, and they were not liable for any payments, taxes, or insurance.   Everything had been taken care of and the only thing they had to do before moving in was repair it so it was livable.  

   At the time he and Lisa were living just off the island in the town of Holly Ridge, renting a small two bedroom house from an older woman who had baby sat Lisa when she was a little girl. Before the lawyer arrived they were in the process of searching for the right house on the island to raise a baby in.  When the news came they had just received an enormous gift, it was if God had answered their prayers before they had a chance to even pray.      

  It had been an old rental house; the owner abandoned it after one of the hurricanes damaged it in the late nineties. The owner figured the damage was just not worth fixing and sold it to a real estate company on the Island.  When Lisa was pregnant, she and Jacob would walk on the beach in the evening and pass by the old house not realizing that one day they would be living in it.     

  It needed a new floor, and the kitchen needed to be remodeled. Rain water had blown in over the last few years and it took six months to completely go through and repair. Before Savannah could even walk, they moved in and never looked back. The back deck was the last thing Jacob repaired and it was where he spent a lot of his time. He added a two car garage underneath the house a year later when Lisa said she needed a place to keep her baby. Her baby was her red 1966 Corvette.

  Whenever she wanted something, he always tried to make her happy. She was the one person in his life that he never wanted to disappoint. They took care of each other and they both knew they were extremely blessed in life.   

  Living on the Beach had been a dream of his since he was a small boy when his family would rent a beach house for a week every summer. He never wanted to leave, and had always felt like he was born to live near the ocean. He never figured his dream would come true, but then again he never stopped believing in the impossible.    

   Lisa had grown up on Topsail Island and knew just about everybody who lived there year round, but for the life of her, she couldn’t imagine who would buy her a house. She was grateful, but sometimes wished the person would just come forward so she could thank them for such a wonderful gift. She never understood why it had to be a secret. She had questioned her father about the house, but he was up front and honest with her as always. It was even a mystery to him. His advice was for her to enjoy the gift and never question who gave it to her. After that day he never talked about it again.   

  In the past five years, the house had been featured in three magazines, for its beauty and size. Lisa had decorated it herself and one day when she was showing it to an old friend from college who had made a living writing for a local magazine called “life on the beach”, she was asked if she could take pictures of it for the magazine, and Lisa said sure, and soon two other magazines came calling.

  She never hesitated to mention in the Magazine that the house was a gift from a stranger and that always seemed to give the story some kind of intrigue for the readers. 

  Lost in his thoughts he heard the sliding glass door slide open and then close. He turned to see her wearing her white robe and slippers. She approached him smiling as always, and this morning shivering. Once she reached him, she wrapped her arms around him and buried her head into his chest.  He placed the cigar on the railing beside his coffee cup and leaned down so his chin rested on the top of her head. He held her tight. She was five inches shorter than him, but, she didn’t mind the size difference because she liked the comfort of leaning into his chest, and when he wrapped his arms around her she was as comfy as a baby in a blanket.  She felt safe in his arms. 

  There wasn’t a day that went by he didn’t tell her how beautiful she was or that he loved her, so she wouldn’t forget. She would always contend that they were made for each other and if anyone would try and take him away, she would fight to the death.

  He loved her long black silky hair, blue eyes, and the lovely, beautiful shape of her slim body. She was much too pretty and smart for him and wondered why someone so beautiful would choose him. She worked out daily in her small gym at the animal hospital that she and her sister owned and jogged a mile a day five days a week. These days he only jogged on the beach, and that was when his knee wasn’t giving him problems; an old baseball injury that seemed to linger at times.    

  “Did you sleep well?” he asked.  

  She nodded, not really wanting to remove her face from his chest. But she did because she liked to look up into his eyes. This was the first tender moment they had really shared in three months. She had showered before she came out and her hair was still damp.  She knew he liked it when her hair was damp. She wasn’t sure why he liked it, but as long as he did she was happy. Sometimes he never gave a reason why he liked something about her; she was just happy he liked her unconditionally. 

  “How long have you been out here?” She asked, noticing the cigar and empty coffee cup on the railing. 

  He shrugged. “I’m not sure, an hour or so, I get lost in my thoughts when I am out here; you know that.” 

  “What have you been thinking about all morning? I see you lit up a Cuban cigar, so I guess that means you finished the manuscript.”

  “Yea, I finished it and now all I have to do is send it to Susan, so she can look it over and send it to the publisher.” He bent down to give her a kiss on her cheek. “Now it’s all about us.”

   Susan was a woman he met out on the road, and she just happened to work for a publishing company out of New York. Now she was a literary agent and Jacob had become her first client. They chatted over a beer one night when he was playing in a club in White Plains, New York, and when he mentioned he was in the process of writing a book about his day’s traveling with the band, she thought it was a great idea and gave him her business card. “When you finish it, please send it to me.”She had told him before he went back up on stage. He figured it was a long shot, but on the day he did complete the manuscript, he sent it to her. It seemed he always met the right people when he least expected too. She was impressed with his work and before he realized it, he was an author.  He was now a published author of six books and five short stories and fortunately for him Susan had become his editor and agent. And most importantly, she was his friend who had popped into his life from thin air. After a short conversation at a table in a bar, she had later become a big part of his life in so many ways. 

   “I thought about taking you horseback riding; that is if you still like riding horses?”  

    “Of course I still like to ride horses; I’ve just been too busy with work to go out to Jim Bayne’s farm to ride. Lately all I get to do is examine horses.” She looked up into his eyes. “But I’m sure Jim would let me ride if we call him. Are you going to ride with me this time?”   

  Jacob laughed and shook his head. “Probably not, you know horses don’t like me to ride them. But it would make me happy to see you ride for awhile and then we can go do something together.  Your dad said I could borrow his Harley, so I thought we could ride to Atlantic beach and maybe stop by and see my brother if he’s home?”   

  Lisa shrugged. “That sounds nice, let’s do that.” She leaned back into his chest. “I’m up for just about anything, as long as I’m with you.”

  He leaned down so he could whisper in her ear. “After the sunrise let’s get crazy.”

  She smiled and squeezed him tightly. “Okay.”

  Just then, Scarface, their Black lab walked up the steps and nuzzled against Lisa’s leg. She glanced down at him and then back to Jacob. “Has my dog been out here in the cold all night? Jacob did you not check to see if he was outside before going to bed?”     

   He gave her an innocent shrug. “I don’t know, why not ask him.” He replied reaching over to the railing for his cigar. “He’s your spoiled baby.” 

  She bent down to pet Scarface. “His ears are freezing, Jacob. Why didn’t you check to see if he was on his blanket in the laundry room last night before you came to bed?”

  Scarface whimpered and Lisa held him close. He was her spoiled baby and all he had to do is act sad, and he would get anything he wanted.

  She glanced up at Jacob and gave him an angry looking stare. Nevertheless, he didn’t notice, he was too busy trying to relight his cigar. “Hey I can’t help it if he doesn’t bark letting me know he was out here all night. He probably fell asleep down below the deck.”

  “Well it’s just as much my fault as yours. We’ve been so busy lately it’s a wonder he hadn’t ran away from home to find another family to live with.”   

  Jacob turned to watch the ocean. He rolled his eyes. “Scarface run away from here; that will be the day,” he mumbled. 

  She held Scarface close and patted his belly for a minute and then let him inside to get warm. He walked into the laundry room where his blanket was waiting.




 She made her way back to Jacob, and they watched the wave’s crash along the beach. She took a deep breath and relaxed as the cold air soothed her face. The wind had blown out the fire in Jacob’s cigar and he gave up trying to relight it. Lisa laughed as he tossed it off the deck onto the sand.  She didn’t like him smoking anyway and had begged him to quit more times than she could remember. But of course he had been stubborn and ignored her request.

  “You see, God is trying to tell you not to smoke,” she said laughing at his frustration. “That was just a friendly warning. Wait until he really puts his foot down.” She grinned and turned to watch the ocean.

  Jacob shot her a playful look and grabbed her hand. He pulled her toward the house. “Hey where are we going, I was enjoying the breeze.” 

  “I need to show you something.”

  “Oh really,” Lisa grinned and grabbed his waist to pull him closer. “Already taking advantage of being alone.”

  Jacob turned to look at her before they entered the house. He shook his head with a smirk. “Not that, I need to show you something down in the garage. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.” 


  “It’s a surprise, Lisa.” 

  “Cool, I love surprises, did you by me a new car?” 

  He walked her out the front door and down the steps where he had hung a big red bow on the garage door. Lisa gave him a curious look and Jacob reached inside his shirt pocket and pulled out the remote control to the garage door. Red was her favorite color, so when she saw the bow she knew he must of did something special.  

  Holding on to his arm she waited for him to push the button. “Did you get me a new cherry-red Mustang?”She asked excitedly. She had an obsession with sports cars and was always test driving something. He knew if she could, she would have a whole fleet of muscle cars.

  Jacob dropped his hand down and gave her a disappointed look, trying to give her the impression that he might have chosen the wrong gift. “Why didn’t you tell me you wanted a Mustang, I got you something completely different from a Mustang.” 

  Lisa lunged at his hand trying to grab the remote. But he held it up above his head where she couldn’t reach it, laughed for a second and then he pushed the button. Only nothing happened; the door didn’t move. He slammed the remote into his other hand hard and like he figured the door began to rise. Lisa held his arm tight with both hands squeezing it with anticipation until the door rose all the way up. The sun rising over the house made the moment even better than he could imagine. Then she saw what he had given her. A gift she would have never expected in a million years. A gift so wonderful she became weak in the knees.

   Jacob had played this moment over and over in his head at least a hundred times.  Hoping she wouldn’t be disappointed. It was the only gift he was sure she would love like no other. And it was a gift that she would’ve ever thought of buying her. But when he saw it, he knew it was the perfect gift for her.

  Her hands came up and covered her mouth and she walked slowly in to the garage. “I’m sorry it’s not a cherry-red Mustang, but if you don’t like it I can trade it in and get you one. I figured you would like this much more.”

  Lisa glanced back over at him with her hands still covering her mouth; she shook her head no, and it was at that moment he knew he had done the right thing. He smiled and it pleased him to see her happy. She walked slowly toward what was probably the most beautiful Black Arabian horse she had ever seen. She approached him gingerly and then reached out so he could sniff her hand. And then she rubbed her hand lightly down his neck. She was gentle, loving, the way she was around all animals. She began to speak to him in a soft voice like a mother would speak to their new born baby that was only minutes old. “Hey boy, how are you?”    

  She continued to rub his neck and he responded by pushing onto her hand gently. Lisa loved animals as much as animals loved Lisa. There were times when Jacob thought that she loved animals more than she did people. In fact he was almost convinced that was the truth.

  After all, she had dedicated her life to taking care of them and protecting them from cruelty. Horses were her favorite animal and she loved to ride whenever she could.   

  She was silent for a few minutes, and Jacob spotted a tear. As a veterinarian she examined horses all the time and rode other people’s horses, but she never figured she would ever own a horse. It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford a horse; it was just that she was just too busy to take care of one with her practice and Savannah and other responsibilities in her life.

  He had figured the horse would be the perfect gift for a woman who in his eyes was perfect in every way. 

  “Old man Jim gave me a great deal on that horse. I drove out to his farm the other day and he showed me the horse. He told me you loved Arabian horses. I couldn’t resist and we struck up a deal and he brought him over this morning; I helped him walk him in the garage as quietly as I could so as not to wake you. That’s why I didn’t park the jeep in the garage last night after taking Savannah over to your dad’s house. I needed the room inside. It’s the only Arabian horse Jim has ever owned. He said as long as you would keep coming out to his horse farm to take care of his other horses like you have done with so much love for so long, that he would board him for free, and not charge you for oats and stuff that……well stuff horses eat. He also gave me a good deal on a horse trailer, so you could take him anywhere or bring him home, so you could ride him on the beach. I couldn’t think of a better gift to give you.”   

  Lisa heard every word Jacob said but she was still in awe. She walked around the horse looking him over like the veterinarian she was, and when she came back around to Jacob she smiled and pulled him into the garage. She jumped into his arms and kissed him like they were just married, and on their honeymoon.  

  “Hey, what’s his name?” She asked, leaning her head back with the biggest smile he had ever seen. He loved seeing her so happy.

  Jacob shrugged, and glanced over at the horse and then back to Lisa. “I don’t know. I guess that’s up to you.”  

  She held on to him tight and they both looked at the horse. “I can’t believe you went out and got me a horse.” She jumped from his arms. He was happy to see her act like a little girl on Christmas morning. She walked back over and started rubbing on his neck and petting him on his back. The horse seemed to like her and Jacob was relieved that she did like the horse. “Boy, I will come up with a name later; I need to go ride you first.” She spoke as if he understood her. “Do you want to ride up the beach with me?” she asked. “The water is cool this time of year and we can splash around in it.”

  Jacob cleared his throat and Lisa glanced over at him with her bright smile. “Babe I didn’t get you a saddle yet.”

  Lisa shook her head and led the horse out of the garage. “Jacob, I don’t need a saddle. Now hold on to his reign and I will go get dressed in some jeans and boots.” She turned and ran up the steps, but before she went inside, she turned and looked down at Jacob who was nervously holding the horse’s reign. “Hey I’m going to wear that shirt you like so much.”  And with that she disappeared into the house.

  She was dressed in a flash, and when she made it back down the steps she was wearing a tight red shirt and Jacob was sure she was going to get more than his attention. He smiled and shook his head; Lisa grabbed the reign and led the horse around the house and down a short path between the dunes that led to the beach. She jumped up on the horse so fast; if Jacob would have blinked he would have missed it.

“Are you sure you are going to be okay?” he asked knowing it was a stupid question. “It’s a little chilly this morning; do you need a heavy coat?”

  “I’ll be fine Jacob; I’ve been riding since I was six.” And then she and her new horse took off up the beach, the horse kicking up sand in the air as he picked up speed.     

  He watched as she rode out of sight, disappearing once she passed under the Jolly Roger pier. Fishermen were lined up down the beach turning their heads as she rode by. While she was gone he decided to sit at the bottom of the steps and wait for her return.

 That is if she ever returned?     

  Leaning back on the steps he placed his hands behind his head and closed his eyes; he listened to the roar of the ocean, and all the sounds that surrounded him, from the seagulls flying over head, to the fishermen’s conversations, to the sound of a fisherman’s reel with its drag set reeling in a fish, to the beep, beep, beep of a truck backing up somewhere off the side of the road behind him. One sound he didn’t care to hear.   

  On the day they met, it was her eye’s he noticed first, not her short silky black hair or her tan legs, but her hypnotic eye’s.  

  He remembered the day they met, as if it was only yesterday. One day he would tell Savannah the story about the day his life changed forever.

  He’d maybe been on the Island about an hour. He’d checked into the Jolly Roger Inn, tossed his duffle bag on the bed, and grabbed a beer from the cooler. It was the end of July; he walked out onto the balcony to people watch and to enjoy the view of the ocean on the clear summer day. His plan was to purchase two rod and reels and all the fishing equipment from the Jolly Roger pier and then fish from the very same pier until he was tired of fishing. It was the first time he had ever been on the Island and he had heard about it from a stranger in a bar who had heard him talking about fishing with a bartender, before the band began their first set. The stranger mentioned the Island to Jacob on his way out of the bar. When the band broke up, the name of the island was locked away in his memory, so he looked it up and drove down.

   To fish and spend time alone was something that had been almost impossible to do when you traveled with a rock n roll band. He had come to the Island alone and that’s how he intended to spend it. He’d had a lot to think about, a future that was full of options. He needed to contemplate the next step in his life. Marcie, Mitch, Martin, and Sammy had all separated to do the same thing. The band had officially broken up: and scattered.  

  As he stood on the balcony drinking his beer he saw Lisa with three girls holding a giant Sea Turtle near the water’s edge. They were surrounded by people with cameras and when they released the turtle it swam out about twenty feet and disappeared under a wave. People clapped, snapped some photos, and then walked away, but one girl stood near the water, with the waves breaking near her feet. For a moment she seemed to be sad the turtle was gone. Her gold ankle bracelet flickered when the sun hit it just right, and he knew he had to meet her.

  She was wearing blue jean shorts and a red tank top. But he noticed her eye’s first when she turned around. When she began walking closer to the inn he leaped off the balcony forgetting he had a bad knee and ran over to her. A little voice cried out to him telling him to go meet her or she might vanish forever and he would never see her again. He still had his long hair back then, and when she spotted him walking up to her she kept her eye on him checking him out. He was relieved to see her not trying to avoid him. Instead she stopped in her tracks making it easier than he expected. They looked at each other as if the moment stood still.

  At that moment her eyes captivated him.

 After telling her his name, he asked about the turtle and she explained it was from the turtle hospital across the street, where she was a volunteer. It had been sick and she was a doctor and had helped nurse it back to health and now it was healthy enough to go back out to sea, so they released it, and hoped it would live about fifty more years. She didn’t go into much detail, and even if she did he was lost in her eyes and her smile at that moment and probably wouldn’t have heard anything she had said. She introduced herself and asked if he was an animal lover or just a con man. He sensed she had a playful side, and he answered both and she smiled. It was that moment he realized he would never leave the island and his life would never be the same. He never made it fishing that day. Or the days that followed. 

   Their first date was eight hours later; she had suggested a small bar and grill across from the Jolly Roger pier, called, “Cherries.” They had a few drinks and talked for the first hour. She was not the shy type so getting information out of her was not difficult. They ordered club sandwiches and listened to an old black couple sing the blues in another room. That was when he told her he was a Musician, and he’d just come off the road for good to look for another opportunity.

  He told her about maybe going to go to college and get a teaching degree. Maybe coach baseball? Or work in a recording studio. He wanted something more but just wasn’t sure what it was. He mentioned he liked to write stories and songs and she had suggested that maybe that was what he should do.  He agreed but shrugged it off as a maybe. And then she told him about her and what she wanted. They sat across from each other as if knowing that they would be together forever and the moment they were sharing was only the beginning of a wonderful life.

  They dated for only a short time before he proposed. Her dad gave him a job installing windows in beach houses; Old Nick; the stranger in the bar; how ironic he would meet his daughter. And when he had time he worked on his manuscript; then the wedding on the beach and the honeymoon in Savannah, Georgia where they walked the river front and sipped mixed drinks from plastic cups. They had gotten a room overlooking the river and spent most of their time in it. It was a great week and before they realized it, Savannah was born.

 Another blessing, like the old Gypsy woman had claimed would happen. 

  At times it was as if his life was a dream, and he was afraid that one day he’d wake up and find that he was still in the band sitting behind his drum set playing the same old beats to the same old songs; not that he didn’t love what he did for so many years, but now he couldn’t imagine life without Lisa and Savannah. Going back out on the road would never be an option again. 

   He missed Savannah now, but he was okay with her being with her Grandpa. They needed the time together and he and Lisa needed some time together. It was a fair trade off for the weekend.

  He finally opened his eyes and lifted his head up to search up the beach hoping to see Lisa riding back. He spotted her but she was still a long ways away. She was riding slow and talking to a couple who were walking beside her. He ran upstairs to the top of the deck and pulled the cover off his telescope that was mounted on the railing in the left corner.   

  Looking through the eye piece he could see her bright smile, and the couple was some of her old friends, Scott and Jill. They were about the same age as him and Lisa. They owned a couple of rental houses on the Island and Lisa had gone to high school with them both. 

  As she came closer, Jacob walked back down the steps in time to meet her as she rode up. “So, how was the ride?”

  Lisa jumped off the horse and gave him a Kiss. “Great, he’s really fast, and really loves to run. I almost couldn’t get him to stop a couple of times.” She shook her head and gave Jacob one of her brightest, beautiful smiles. “I still can’t believe you got me a horse…….thanks baby, I don’t know what to say.” She lead the horse back around to the garage. “I’m going to name him Shadow.”

  “Shadow’s sounds like a good name for a horse.” He agreed. Not that he was going to disagree.

  “Yea he looks like a beautiful black shadow.” 

  She was almost out of breath and he wondered who was more tired her or Shadow.  

  When they reached the garage, Jacob filled a five Gallon bucket with cold water and Shadow drank until the bucket was almost empty. Lisa called Jim Bayne and told him she loved the horse and they talked about the ride they had together. She was like a teenage girl who had just been asked out by the cutest boy in school, and Jacob laughed while she talked away. 

   When she finally got off the phone she informed Jacob that Jim was on his way to get Shadow and would arrive in about an hour, so they went in the house to get cleaned up.

  When Jim arrived with the trailer, he and Lisa loaded Shadow inside, and while he talked to Jacob, he let her say goodbye to her new horse and drove off. Lisa watched the trailer go up Ocean Blvd until it was out of site. She turned to Jacob who was holding the keys to the truck; she grabbed his hand. “Well, it’s just you and me babe.” He leaned down and she kissed him on the cheek. “Let’s make the best out of it and enjoy the weekend.”

  They walked to the truck and he opened the door, picked her up, and placed her in the seat. When he closed the door she smiled at him as she always did; he walked around the front of the truck, opened his door, and slid inside. The truck was an old 1966 Chevy, cherry red, fully restored short bed that he purchased two days after he came off the road. On their first date, she noticed his Cherry red truck and said her favorite color was red, so it must be fate. She had also noticed the year it was made and that had impressed him. She slid close to him, propped her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.  All three of their vehicles were red and Jacob had always found that odd in some ways. That had never been a plan, it just sort of happened.

  He started the engine and backed out of the short driveway and drove toward the diner. 

  So far so good, he thought; a beautiful day with a beautiful lady. From the moment he stepped foot on the island, it seemed the island gave him everything he’d ever wanted.

  He thought about his late grandfather, who had always told him that God had always seemed to smile down on him. His grandfather, a man of many sayings always gave him encouragement.

  Jacob missed him very much and wished they could’ve shared one last minute together having a talk out on the porch about life.