“A Day of Signs”
Sometimes it’s one of those days when you start having feelings when you are still in bed and dawn even seems to come earlier. Or it might just be that your senses are eagerly awaiting something to happen, because you are more alert … or because that’s the way you want to be. Then you go for a walk with an expectant look in your eyes and on that morning the very same things you experience everyday are more enjoyable than ever, but just because you can’t get enough of them. Those days you take pleasure in every tranquil moment but, at the same time, you can’t help thinking about the next one.
Although it seemed to be, that day wasn’t one of them.. Does that mean that there are actually more important dates every year than the ones indicated on the calendar? There probably are. And perhaps some of them should be erased forever. But forever is too long a time, especially when life brings lost treasures back to you. And I say bring them back because they were always yours, even without knowing it —you just have to look carefully. It wasn’t exactly a day of signs and there was no hint of a change.
We walked holding hands and felt the warm sand under our feet, since the sun was generous enough to heat the shore so early in the morning. Its rays could already reach everywhere except those areas shaded by the highest buildings’ windows along the promenade, where they liked to linger around and play hide and seek. Time went by slower. As we were heading towards Cícer beach, we arrived at the peak known as “Los Muellitos” and touched a rock with the tip of our toe, something that has become a tradition among the people who manage to finish half of the walk along Las Canteras shore. We then returned but with our eyes always fixed on the sea because everybody knows the sea was created only to be looked at.
Nobody can look away from the ocean and not turn to look it once again, because it is different every time, though still moving inside the same area. It keeps on behaving that way and even when you are not watching it, there is always someone who is taking a look at the sea, as if fearing it might disappear if no one watches it. I was thinking about all this when I went under Tino Armas and his Alice in Wonderland like balconies, because he has his own wonderland at his feet and he doesn’t need to look through the mirror —he can dream about the two of them with his oars on land. And as we were walking I kept on wondering to myself. We looked up so that we could wave to him just in case he was there, but it was low tide and there was no sign of change, so we guessed he hadn’t show up yet.
We heard about his heron and, as it was still the right season, we looked for it. There it was, as he had told us it would be, although we had never seen it before. We might not have paid attention to what its wings were searching for in their flight nor did we make a secret from an unhidden treasure. And it was then that we held our hands tighter together and time seemed to be shorter, or maybe longer because of desire. I don’t know exactly why, but it suddenly turned out to be a day of signs. Tino hadn’t mentioned anything about starfishes, but we started to see what we had never discovered before.
We passed Playa Chica beach without coming to a halt because we were still early for our meeting with our friend Roberto. We were talking about the three beautiful gates of Fernando’s white row of balconies at the Marrero’s Wall set against a vanilla background which always reminds me of ice-cream. I wonder which of them I’d choose to lean out of every morning if I had the chance. Only these whimsical thoughts were in my mind and they were, amused by every little detail. And then, it happened, just as we got in front of the old Chinese restaurant, whose wall is still painted in red —the Tea House where all of us used to taste oriental food and which was once called Sol Naciente.
The water reached up to just below our knees and the tide was so quiet and low that some schools of salemas were looking at my feet inquisitively, instead of swimming away like they usually did. But there was something different shining near my toes which I was able to see without bending over. One of its limbs was shorter than the other ones and I could not tell exactly if there were five or six of them. How annoying! I should have paid more attention as this was the first time I saw a being like that. It had been a while since Jose and I had let go of each other’s hands and I had gone in search for shell-shaped or stone-like treasures. I called him over so that we could share the secret. He didn’t realize that the morning had already decided that it was going to be a day of signs, so he told me he was sure that it was just some seaweed. —it was certainly peculiar but it was only seaweed.
Like a mischievous girl who takes pleasure in showing everybody how she sticks to her guns, I folded my arms and didn’t move a step forward, determined as I was to prove it was a lucky sign. I bent slightly over; trying to make the sea surface clearer and I put my hand carefully into the water so that nothing would happen. It tried to fool me as nothing really happened… but it finally couldn’t resist me tickling it with my index finger and… it moved! Initial doubts were followed by the excitement of finding something new in the beach we visited everyday. I took it on my hand and walked towards Jose. He turned round and was amazed by it; he admitted he had been wrong —that it wasn’t motionless seaweed that can only move when it is rocked. What I had on my hand seemed to have settled there, because it held on tightly to it and curled up slightly, as if annoyed at being woken up at the wrong moment. But I couldn’t help it —I had a need to believe and had finally found my sign.
It was a starfish, still young, although it was a good breed of starfish/good quality?. I placed it back into the water, but this time far enough from the shore and somewhere it could be safe from its absent-mindedness and anybody else’s wish for more signs.