"I must have read about it in the paper," John added. He tapped the end of his pen against his bottom lip and realized that he hadn't written a thing on the legal pad. A little girl's laughter came from the open door and a dog yapped. The constant drone of waves provided a soothing white noise.

"You always leave your door open with the air-conditioning on?"

"I like to hear the ocean while I work. Don't you like it?"

She stood and walked over to gaze at the beach again. "I love it," she admitted. The ocean breeze jostled her hair as she tucked what she could of the limp strands behind each ear.

Just then a lifeguard's whistle blew high and sharp. More laughter and threads of fun conversations passed by the open doorway. There was never total silence on the beach.

"It's hypnotic," John added.

"I could set me up a lawn chair and sit here all day long. You just don't know."

John withdrew a standard contract from the short filing cabinet behind him and placed it on the corner of his desk. "Here," he said, "look this over."

She walked over and picked up the contract. John stood, stretched, and slid his belt around into place so that the little pewter buckle of an eagle's wing was facing front. He could never figure out how it would work its way off center. He went over to the open doorway and looked out at the beach for himself while Tammy read over the contract. The sweet sight of the Atlantic always seemed to make things right again. There was just something about the smell and taste of the air along with the vastness of it all. It cleared his mind of all his troubles and transported him to a different place in time. It was a primal feeling from someplace deep.

As his eyes made their way to the horizon, he noticed a portly mad with green boxers that were maybe two sizes too small. But the uncomfortable looking trunks didn't seem to slow the man down as he scanned the sand with his expensive looking metal detector. Two sea gulls danced on the upper reaches of the breeze, one cascaded downward as the other struggled to stay aloft. An older couple was clearing a spot for their cooler and lawn chairs. They looked like professional beach people with their evenly tanned bodies and color, coordinated swimsuits. A little girl with the longest blonde hair John had ever seen on a child was doing her best to help them out. Land, sea, animal, and man all came together in one harmonious place in time.


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