I finally went to the crazy lady’s house. There were perks. For one, she lived in Hawaii. Her home was a Spanish adobe with tall ferns. She served chips and salsa with poi. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but it tasted okay.
I placed an envelope on her coffee table. Since we shared the same name, our mail had been mixed up for years. I’d received her tax refund by mistake and was here to return it.
I asked, “How do you support yourself?” Living in Hawaii wasn’t cheap. Getting here from Indiana had cost most of my meager savings. Yet, she had insisted I come in person. What was the price of crazy these days?
She grinned, revealing a gap-toothed smile. “I surf.” Her leathery skin was marked with a star-shaped birthmark on her forearm. A birthmark just like mine.
“A champion,” said another tall woman in a matching turquoise muumuu. She had long scraggly brown hair like the crazy lady too. I suspected they were sisters.
I sat. “Why am I here?” I pointed to the envelope.
They perched on either side of me on the wicker settee. “Close your eyes, farm girl.”
“We want to see.”
I considered myself an open-minded person, so I closed my eyes. They rubbed my eyelids with their bony fingers. Warm circles of darkness. The ocean roared through the open windows.
The crazy lady said, “Focus on the past.”
I opened one eye, saw a finger too close and shut it again. “What for?”
The crazy lady had e-mailed for weeks. Called my home. Tracked down my cell number and badgered me until I responded. Said she knew my secret. I had assumed it regarded the tax refund check, but how could she have known I had it? Unless she had mine?
I tried to clear my mind. But it wasn’t working. I sat up. A firm hand nudged me down. Then I remembered a large, latticed, mahogany box. I could see out of the box but not in. Carved wooden flowers everywhere. Somewhere, a ukulele played.
“Tell us what you see.”
I described the box. They stopped rubbing my eyelids. The tide whispered my name. “Take me to your beach.”
The sister pointed to the arched doors. “Out there.”
I ran through the doors and emerged on an obsidian-laden beach. The tide called again: Jump in. A striped surfboard stood upright, next to an empty bucket.
I turned to the ladies. “Mind if I borrow this?”
The crazy lady nodded. Her sister waved.
I pulled the surfboard loose and ran to the water. I flopped onto it and pumped my arms over the shifting tide. A stronger wave rolled in; my legs firmed. I balanced on the board; the swell of the tide rose under my feet. The board lifted and I crouched, coasting through a water tunnel while tasting the salty tang of the ocean. My fingertips glanced the wave, alive and hard.
I rode the wave to shallow water. People on the beach pointed. I searched the shore. The crazy lady, her sister and their house had vanished.
My body knew how to surf. How? My fingertips and toes ached to glide again. But, I returned the surfboard to its upright position. The beach bucket was now full of black pebbles. I stood, a surfer reborn.
Stacy Post is a writer, librarian and native Hoosier. She shares a birthday with Roy Rogers, loves eating Hot Tamales and plays piano by ear. Her previous writing credits include publication in WOW! Women on Writing: Fall 2009 Flash Fiction Finalist, Every Day Poets, Haiku Headlines and blogging for the Indianapolis Star as a community blogger.