the line, photo by Jessica Roenick
Sunday, I was spreading out my lime and white striped beach towel on the very ledge of a bluff–a bluff that drops down to a sandy beach, a beach that bears the break of a million waves, waves that are cast by the moon–when I spotted a penny, small and insignificant, like me. It wasn’t especially shiny or new, but it was heads up and I stopped fanning out my towel and I stared. Jessica saw my stillness and asked me what was wrong. I found a heads up penny. Oh yeah? Pick it up! She said. I don’t know if I should. Because I can’t see how I could get any luckier.
Suddenly I was dizzy, like I had too many sips of serendipity–fizzy, sweet, and free flowing these past three weeks. I had packed my life into two suitcases and moved, on somewhat of a whim, to the most beautiful city in the country. I was welcomed into the home of one of my best friends. I got a job the day after I arrived. I met wonderful guy who reciprocates my feelings (that actually happens in real life!?). The aforementioned guy woke me up by kissing my cheek, he made me eggs for brunch. I’d been enjoying mimosas with new friends all morning. The sun was browning our bodies, the breeze was keeping us cool.
And then I found a lucky penny.
Jess was already sitting down, lathering on tanning oil (because we’re young!) by the time I found the courage to pick up the penny. I dare you , I said to my life, get even better. Maybe the penny was so hot in my hand because it had been sitting in the sun all day, but I doubt it. It was hot because it was saturated with all that is good and happy and lucky.
Before long, the boys were behind us, setting up a slackline between two palm trees, thirty feet away from the ledge. I’d never seen a slackline before, but the one inch strap bound taut a safe distance from the ground reminded me of an elementary Cirque du Soleil. It’s about balance, trust, knowing your body, adjusting yourself; but then again, what isn’t? I watched the boys play on the line and grew scared to step up. That is, until one new friend grabbed my hand, showed me how to get onto the strap, taught me how to balance on one foot then transfer my weight, and walked next to me, still holding my hand, as I took my first steps. Teetering like a toddler; new here and excited.
The afternoon passed and strangers approached our set up, asking to give it a go, staying to chat a bit. An older woman dressed all in purple inquired as to each of our birthdays and upon hearing them said they explained everything, why we each acted as we did. People here are different, I’ve been saying that to everyone at home. I couldn’t quite describe it at first, but now I get it’s that they’re open. More open. And they’re letting me be open too–my mind, my eyes, my heart.
That wonderful guy, the one who cooks eggs and laughs with abandon, helped me across the slackline every time I wished, then he dared me to do it on my own. I did once, almost a run, scared silly, but trusting in him trusting in me. Later, as we sat on the edge of the bluff he said You were great, on the line. And you looked beautiful while doing it. I smiled at him, then the grass, then the ocean. Dizzy again, that serendipity, so glad I picked up the penny.