Head for the finger piers to see what’s up with the Blue Jays and Whalers. All the Jays are out except mine, “Rebel.” No people, and no smoke rising from our hideout under the boardwalk. Turn to leave when Jody’s Whaler rooster-tails into the mooring and he enters his slip with a flourish, slamming it into reverse for a moment to ease it in. Onboard, Taffy, Candy and Roberta. I’m interested. Amble down the plank walkway to get to the water.

“How’s it goin’ Owen?” Jody cannot utter a simple greeting.

“I got nothing.”

“We’re headed to Roberta’s beach for lunch. Come on, we have tons of food.” Help him get tied up, and follow everyone up the gangway.

Taffy turns to me and says, “Hello Evan.”

“Hello yourself.”

It takes a minute to get from the finger slips to the main maintenance building, and I use the time to rack my brain for something forward and clever to say. Images from our birthday parties flash through my mind, but I cannot make them cohere. At the top of the gangway, Taffy spins on her sneakers and faces me, putting her hand on my chest to arrest my forward movement.

“Have to talk to you, Evan. In private.” She walks down to the garage door to the sail loft, and I follow. We end up in front of my sail locker in the empty room. A breeze flaps a few drying sails making a languid, sursurous rhythm.

“Just wanted to say that I was sorry I did not see you wave goodbye at my party. Candy told me she saw you guys leave. I wanted you to stay longer. Wanted to thank you for coming. I adore the perfume you gave me, I’m wearing it right now.” She leans into me and I take a whiff. She makes it smell both refined and earthy. “I have something I have to tell you.”

Look at those soulful hazel eyes and my mind goes blank, deciding whether to savor the moment, or go for the memorable remark.

Taffy throws her arms around my neck and says, “I am madly in love with you Evan,” and kisses me with vigor and imagination. I am lost in space. Feelin’ alright. We linger in the warm salty air blowing through the cool sail loft. Taffy lays her head on my shoulder for a few moments, and looks in my eyes. “Evan? Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Rosko comes to the rescue, and I quote him without thinking. “I sure do love you so.”



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