The old beach house in Saint Simons seemed to sigh, and a feeling of sadness filled the air. This had been my home for a long while. The old wooden floor and weather-beaten porch were like me, a bit worse for the wear and tear. My hair and beard had turned grey, and I walk a little slower, go to bed earlier, and wake up with the sunrise. I knew that I only had one, maybe two, road trips left on my beloved Harley before it was time to call it a day.
I took one last walk through the rooms taking in the memories I had made here. It did feel like home but like my friend Ricky always told me the wayward traveler must always strap on the Harley and ride out to find the lost highways, even if it might be the last ride. I left a signed deed giving the house to Ricky and Pauline. They were getting married soon and this would be a good place to spend a life and raise a family. The cottage was one of the few old houses left that was near the beach. This would be my parting gift for my old friend.
The Writer’s Café would reopen today, and I needed to ride on over to help get the party started. My old friends, Trevor and Eileen Bild, were bringing a band down to play and were filming the event for their Otel Productions. It was set to be seen on their Roku channel. It was going to be one of the biggest events ever to be held on Saint Simon Island. Many writers that knew Theodore would come to pay tribute to their old friend and to welcome the new generation of writers, poets, and artists.
Raissa had lined up publishers that were accepting submissions and several lucky writers would have their book published and promoted. She was sitting at a table with the Arts Foundation talking about a grant for The Writer’s Café to become a Cultural Arts Center and an accredited Art and Writing Academy with funding from the State of Georgia.
The street was lined with booths, filled with books, paintings, crafts, and food, and Trevor was getting the band onstage to start this celebration off with music. They had booked everything from cello players to Southern Rock and Blues. I could hear the guitars warming up when Trevor announced that he needed me on stage to play a song with them. It had been a while since I played drums, but I was game. I sat behind the drums and we started into some ZZ Top, and Trevor said we have a surprise for you and out walked Michael Rajcich the guitar player I played with in the late 70s.
After several songs, Mike, Trevor, and I went inside The Writer’s Café and sat with Ricky and Raissa for coffee. Mike said he was going down to Jacksonville to play some music with Trevor and wanted to know if I was interested. I told Raissa that the highway has been calling me hard lately and I was going off the grid for a while. It had been a long year tracking down the lost manuscript and reopening The Writer’s Café. It was time for me to look inside again and see what was next in my life. I could see Raissa wanted to go but she and Eileen were putting together a series of interviews and would be wrapped up for a while.
I handed Ricky and Pauline the keys to the beach house and gave Raissa some stories we had been writing together. We loaded the Harley in the truck and Michael and I headed southbound on I-95. New adventures were waiting, and new stories would be found. I knew that Raissa would do amazing things with the café and hopefully, I would be back soon, but only the highway knows the road we take. I gave her a big hug and said catch up with me when you are ready for a road trip.
Raissa’s New Beginning
It was the first Mother’s Day together since the union of the two sisters. The drive to and from visiting their mother was filled with much laughter. Pauline had many questions about what their mother was like, how past Mother’s Days had been, and they were giddy about celebrating it with her for the first time.
Raissa answered her questions and laughed along, but there was a part of her that was sad. As much as the reunion would be everything her mom dreamed of, Raissa could not help feeling a bit selfish. She had no problem with sharing her mother and was thrilled to have a sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law, but for some reason, all the new people in her life made her feel a bit lonely. Not in the traditional way but more in the loss of a connection.
She had spent so much time alone in her studio. It was, but a chance encounter, that she met Larry when the sun rose over the ocean. She recalled the many conversations they had and that feeling when he left. And then, entirely by chance, he reappears. The one time that Raissa takes a chance. Was it really by chance, or is it some sort of plan that she was not aware of?
Life is a journey, and she was beginning to learn that as one journey ends, a new one begins. She had been busy with the Writer’s Café, Pauline and Ricky’s upcoming nuptials, and painting like crazy and surrounded by so many. She had forgotten how it felt to be alone, in the quiet, with only her own thoughts that would race through her brain.
With all the craziness, she had not been running as she had been. Running was her thinking time, her contemplation, her way to sort out thoughts. So today, she would start a new routine and begin running again to gain that quiet time she needed to think. She gained energy from the bilateral physical movement activating both her right and left side of her brain.
This morning’s run treated her with a sunrise that reminded her of the day she had met Larry for the first time, the colors of sadness indeed. She was thankful for everything he had done but knew that tonight he would be hitting the road at the end of this night, and the good-byes would ring in her mind for days to come.
The reopening of the Writer’s Cafe had gone off without a hitch. So much of the day was spent first in preparation, then networking and learning about the grant applicants. Raissa had little time to spend enjoying all that they had done, but when she heard a ZZ Top song and the drums starting, she made her way to the stage to watch the band play. Larry was so much more in his element than she had ever seen him. When the guitar player took the stage, she saw Larry’s crooked smile grow and a twinkle in his eye that could have lit the entire room. Yes, Larry needed to go seek some solitude, but that didn’t make her any less sad.
She was a bit jealous of his freedom, but there was much she needed to do with the Café and with the planning of Pauline and Ricky’s wedding. She knew her time to roam would come soon enough. When Larry gave her that hug and said, “catch up with me when you are ready for a road trip.” Raissa had an urge to hop on the Harley and ride off into the sunset, but she resisted. He had to have his time to think too.
There had been a spark that ignited. Raissa’s creativity was flowing. Her art was coming alive. She was fearful that it was because of the adventures and new places explored. She was frightened the flame would extinguish as they had in her studio in Myrtle Beach by staying in one place. She just needed to keep following the path ahead of her.