Noah dug his feet further into the sand, hoping to discover cool, moist grains. Staying seated, he adjusted his purple beach chair to a more upright position. Then with his left hand, he massaged his lower back. When he felt comfortable enough, he grabbed a book from his backpack, opened to the dog-eared page, and resumed reading. Two of his close friends back in Houston, J-Dawg (James) and Thatch (Eric), recommended reading The Firm, a novel by John Grisham. So far, he’s glad he took their advice.
An hour later, when Noah reached page 112, he caught himself reading the same sentence over and over again.
Mitch thought of a dozen smart retorts, but let it pass.
He had no idea how many times he had read the sentence. Maybe eight. Maybe
Noah dog-eared page 112, then placed the book on the sand. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a black pen and a postcard which, on the front of it, had a lighthouse in the foreground and a setting sun in the background.
He flipped the postcard over to the blank side, tapped his pen nervously against his forehead, then wrote:
We owe it to each other to communicate in a spirit of the utmost frankness
and truthfulness — unlocked hearts.
Take all the time you need. I’ve got no place else to go.
With a critical eye, he read the sentences silently five times, each time with a different cadence. He slowly raised his head and looked at the ocean in front of him. In a trance, he watched thirty waves roll in. Then he looked down at the postcard, crumpled it in his hand, and tossed it onto the sand behind him.
Noah grabbed an identical postcard out of his backpack, flipped it over to the blank side, then wrote:
Just tell me you’re alright.