Life at its Fullest (a short story)

She awoke to the bittersweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Her husband, Jay, walked in with two cups of caffeinated goodness, followed closely by her aunt’s excited Scottish terrier she’d known since childhood. Toby was a small dog with black, shaggy fur, beady black eyes and soft, ever-perky ears. He tried, but he couldn’t climb onto the bed, evidently because of his height.

She slid herself up and sat against the pillows as Jay pulled up a sofa chair next to the majestic king-size bed.

“Sleep well, sweetheart?” he asked.

“Wonderfully,” she answered.

They sipped on their coffee for a few moments of undisturbed quiet, taking in the blissful sound of the wind invisibly brushing against the wind chimes outside the window. The soft musical composition of the wind was accompanied by the monotonous sound of waves lapping the shore; nature’s metronome. The sound was repetitive and extremely soothing.

She stepped out from under the covers and put on her cashmere slippers. She placed her wafting cup of coffee down on the bedside table and kissed Jay on the forehead. She then made her way to the verandah, where the beautiful white chiffon curtains flowed gently with the in-and-out tropical breeze of the morning. A busy woman balancing a rigorous corporate schedule and a fleeting social life, it seemed she never found time for relaxation and admiration of a beauty.

She and Jay had just gotten married and were at her aunt’s retreat for the duration of the week following their wedding. It was a beautiful place. The small farmhouse was originally her aunt and uncle’s; after his death, her aunt had converted it into a posh bed-and-breakfast. This week, she’d booked off the entire resort privately for the newlyweds.

She heard Jay’s soft bare footsteps on the hardwood as he approached her. He presented her with a vintage cameo brooch. The colours were faded and the metal was tarnished, but it possessed an ancient mystical quality, like something out of the history books, or something one would find sunk to the bottom of the sea with the Titanic. Before she could ask for an explanation, he began, “It was my mother’s, given to her by my dad’s family. They asked me to give this to ‘the one.’ I should’ve given it to you earlier, but…” and his voice trailed off. He put his arms around her from behind. He held her, and she held the brooch, and they stood by the window for what seemed like an eternity.

The beach outside had white sand that shimmered in the sunlight. The morning breeze was cool and refreshing. In the distance she could hear steel drums playing a tune, most often attributed to a lush, Caribbean vacation spot.

The water reminded her of a television commercial, where families and couples laughed their time away, playing volleyball and laying aimlessly in the hot sand, enjoying themselves to the fullest. How long had it been since she had laughed like that, a moment where she was living her life to the fullest?

Her attention was brought back to the present, as gulls swished their wings and circulated in the air, cah-ing in response to one another. The water was a clear and pure blue, and stretched on for what seemed like miles. This was a type of serenity she’d never find in the chaos of her urban life. She closed her eyes and faded into her inner thoughts, with her new husband, feeling the cool breeze on her face and hearing the monotonous sound of the waves. Maybe this was life at its fullest.

A version of this was submitted to a writing class I took in 2012 at HSS. The assignment was to include the following in a short story: a Scottish terrier dog, a vintage cameo brooch, a wind chime.

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