So today is my birthday. After having experienced the generosity, during my visit to the South, of Ellen, Em, and, of course, Waffle House, it was Yvonne’s turn.
Yvonne, one of my surrogate big sisters (the other is my second cousin, Angela), embodies chill. The word “chill” looks upon Yvonne and says “I think the word ‘Yvonne’ is a better adjective than I am for ‘laid back.’”
She took me for a walk through Pensacola. Though she grew up outside of the city, she spent a lot of time here when she was younger.
We walked to Bayview Park, which is just a few blocks from her house down here. While we walked, Megan called, and wished me a happy birthday. We chatted for a while, and I apologized to Yvonne for talking on the phone while I was walking with her.
“Not at all,” Yvonne said. “It’s your birthday, and Megan is your girlfriend.”
We got to the park. It’s a public park that looks out over a body of water; a beautiful vista. In Pensacola, most everything looks out over one beautiful vista or another involving water.
I was wearing sandals. I only recently bought them. Megan told me, last summer, that it was vital for me to buy sandals.
“Your toes need to be happy when it’s warm,” she said. “Toes are happy when they are free.”
Yvonne led the way, and I followed. During the walk, she pointed out a fenced in area reserved for people who want to let their dogs run around and take a swim.
“That’s one of the only places here where people can’t fish,” she said. “They don’t want anybody accidentally hooking a dog. The other place where people don’t fish is by the other dock where people tie their boats.”
She walked over to a larger pier that had two sub piers that jutted out from it. On the far pier, someone was casting out his line.
Yvonne took off her sandals, sat on the pier, and dangled her feet in the water. I did the same, thinking about how Megan’a advice made the enterprise a lot easier than it would have been if I’d been wearing shoes and socks.
“I am literally, as I speak, cooling my heels,” I said into the phone. Megan laughed.
I turned to the left, and saw that Yvonne was now lying on her back, with her feet still dangling in the water. I would have never thought about doing that, and it suddenly dawned on me that the first time Yvonne hit upon the idea of stretching out on a pier with her feet dangling in the water, she was probably very young. On the other sub pier, a dozen feet away from the man who was fishing, three girls were doing the same thing.
I stretched out, closed my eyes, and felt the sun’s heat on my face.
“This whole laying down on my back and dangling my feet in the water is awesome,” I said to Megan. “You were so right about the whole thing with the sandals. My toes are just so happy right now.”
“Told you,” Megan said, giggling.
“I wish you were here,” I said.
“I wish I were there too,” Megan said.
“This is just so relaxing,” I said. “Everything is slower down here.”
“Happy Birthday,” Megan said.