Earlier in the day, the branches had swayed manically like a strobe light at a trance party. The wind had finally calmed down to a sweet breeze. Ted stood and watched in part awe and part disgust. Beyond, in a tree, a monkey squatted, its crap neatly dropping to the ground. He burst out laughing; one too many mojitos had Ted amused at his surroundings.
A piece of mint had lodged itself between his two front teeth. He smiled at Nancy before bounding down to the beach, his mop of blonde hair bouncing with him. She followed. “I wish for my soul to be saturated with paradise,” she said.
“And mine?” asked Ted.
“No. Just mine.”
“Oh,” said Ted, deep in thought. After a few moments, he undressed, leaving a trail of clothes behind him, and plunged into the seawater. “I’m going to search for a pearl for you, even though you don’t want me saturated with paradise.” Nancy laughed and waited for him to return.
It didn’t take him very long. He emerged simultaneously trying to hold an oyster shell and cover his nether regions, embarrassed at how the bitterly cold water must surely be rendering him. Ted handed the closed shell to Nancy as he grabbed his clothes and went to get changed behind a tree. A dog was lifting its leg against it and he followed suit.
The swim had done him good; he felt soberer now. He took the shell from Nancy and pried it open with his penknife. “When I marry you, we shall live in a peaceful cottage away from noisy neighbours. Only we shall be able to make a noise,” he said, turning the shell towards her, observing her amazement as a beautiful pastel pink pearl gleamed at her. “Let’s get a burger,” he said. Ted had a knack for escaping romantic moments. He grabbed her hand and led her back to the beach bar.
“Waiter, waiter,” he called. The waiter was crouching down struggling to put cardboard under a table leg to prevent it from rocking back and forth. “Here, use this,” he said, handing him an oyster shell. “It won’t work,” growled the waiter.
“Then get us burgers instead,” said Ted. The waiter stared intensely at him as if he were deciphering an obscure code.
Nancy looked at the pearl again. “My love is gigantic,” said Ted, “This magical pearl will protect you from the serpents of this world, it will black out the black when you need it and it will illuminate the light and the path.” It was in that moment that she knew she would always love Ted with his absurdities and obscurities that no one else understood. Within this microsecond, she had chosen him as the marrow of her life. He added the flesh to her bare bones of existence.
Their burgers arrived at the same time as the men in white coats. “Motherfuckers,” they said in unison as they grabbed their burgers and went to join the monkey in the tree.