Sr. Constable John Biebe finished his rounds late in the date noting particularly that the wind chimes were gone from the canopy in front of Keisha’s store. He tried the lock as he did on all the businesses that were closed, and looked into the store, he’d never been in there but thought he might…maybe…sometime. He stopped himself…now why would he be wanting to go in that store?
At the end of the street a path led off to the beach area and he wandered slowly down the path as his shoes filled with soft sand. It was cooler here and he took off his hat and ran his hand through his hair. A walk along the beach sounded good now that he was here.
Keisha Mallory sat on a bench in the sand watching a child at the edge of the water with a bucket and shovel making a sand castle. She’d offered to help earlier and the little girl with a head of dark curls had told her she wanted to do it herself. Reaching into a small insulated bag she pulled out a bottle of water and took a long drink. Something caught her eye down the beach…something blue coming her way. She smiled and waited.
Seeing Keisha on the bench John tossed the sandy shell he had in his hand away and brushed them together. He knew she’d had the shop for as long has he’d been in Little Timor why was it now he was seeing her everywhere he went.
“Hi,” he said as he approached, “mind if I sit down a minute?”
“Not at all Constable…patrolling the beach now?”
“I’m on my own time now,” he answered and removed his hat running a hand through his long tangled hair.
She wished he’d take off those sunglasses he had the most interesting eyes, “I don’t imagine you have much time of your own aren’t you on call all the time?”
“Yeah but not much happens here…a public drunk is about as wild as it gets.” He noticed the little girl alone at the water’s edge and looked around for her parents…the beach area they were in was deserted except for the three of them. “Is she out here alone?” he asked concerned.
“No…she’s mine.” Keisha replied quietly. “Her name is Mori and she’s seven years old.”
John turned back and looked at Keisha, “I didn’t know you had a little girl.”
“You don’t know anything about me,” she replied.
“That’s true…I don’t…Maeve said you weren’t married,” he wished he hadn’t said that and belatedly bit his lip.
“Maeve’s an old gossip…but I’m not married…it is possible to have a child without marriage.” She smiled.
“Yeah…sorry it was none of my business.” He looked again at the little girl stacking up her ramparts.
“John, do you mind if I call you John since you’re off duty? I was wondering if you’d like to join us for dinner…it’s only beef burgers on the barbie and birthday cake…its Mori’s birthday today.”
“Well…” he tried to come up with excuses but nothing would come out of his mouth. “Yeah…that would be nice.”
Keisha smiled, “good…I live right up there…the pink house with the trellis,” she pointed toward the way he’d walked, the house set back from the sand on a little rise.
A strange sound came from the little girl and they both turned, Mori was standing over a lump of sand.
“Oh a wave has washed her castle away,” Keisha said rising and walking down to the little girl. She took her by the hand and led her back to the bench signing to her.
John removed his sunglasses and smiled at the little girl realizing she couldn’t hear he signed hello.
"She’s been deaf since birth John but she reads lips so be careful what you say. I didn’t know you knew the language?”
He looked, up his eyes unreadable, “You don’t know anything about me.”