This story is written for The Write Tribe contest incorporating the following 7 words in random order :
At precisely five o’clock, she made a final ‘X’ through the calendar, gathered work files into a tidy stack, and recorded an out-of-office voicemail message.
Her co-worker, who for the last twenty minutes attempted to help a disgruntled customer, covered the telephone mouthpiece with her fingertips and whispered, “Don’t forget to send me a postcard.” She nodded and closed the door, leaving responsibility behind in her corner office.
From her far chair on a secluded stretch of sand, she meditated on the turquoise ocean, a masterpiece of creation stretching to sunset. A lone sea gull floated overhead, dipped toward crashing waves, then soared with dinner in his talons. Stress evaporated into the briny air.
She sipped a salty margarita and watched the local man walking near the water’s foamy edge. With every step, waves collapsed behind him, erasing each sandy footprint as though perfectly choreographed. Across his forearms, strings of beads and shell necklaces glittered in the sunlight. As he approached, he held his offerings toward her and flashed a brilliant smile. His hair was wild and knotted, his face scruffy and tanned.
“Is this enough?” She raised a tarnished coin rummaged from the bottom of her new straw beach bag.
He nodded and placed smaller coins in her palm as change.
The tiny beads were pale blue and aqua green like sea glass and draped almost to her waist so she looped the strand twice. She closed her eyes and listened to the soothing fall of waves. As the sun disappeared into the sea, she realized she would never return to her life in the city.