The Yard Sale
It had rained off and on during
the morning and was supposed to rain more, later in the afternoon. I
scheduled to play golf with an old friend but we had decided that due
weather we would postpone. That left me with a little time to
kill and a
few unexpected dollars in my pocket. As I was driving past a side
lead into one of the older neighborhoods on the outskirts of town, I
‘Yard Sale’ sign stuck in the ground. The rain had caused the magic
to run and the address wasn’t all that clear but it had today’s date
arrow pointing the way. I figured that the lousy weather might keep a
other bargain hunters away and I might find a genuine deal or two.
I took a left and drove slowly down the street, checking both sides for
with the tell-tale card tables full of kid’s toys and kitchen utensils.
would be old picnic benches stacked with old coffee mugs and chipped
of slightly used car tires, beat-up furniture and all the other typical
treasures of a yard sale, lining the driveway. I made it to the end of
first block and had found nothing. I proceeded down the second block
and met the
same result. At the end of the third block the street ended and I
the ‘Yard Sale’. I looked both ways for traffic on the cross street and
another side street about twenty yards up the road on my left. There
sign stuck in the ground. It didn’t say anything, but there was the
the same rain smeared magic marker. I followed the sign.
There were a lot fewer houses on this street than there had been on the
and they were a lot more widely spaced. They were older too, much
most appeared to be well maintained. I had been driving for several
it began to sprinkle a bit. I was about to abandon the search and turn
when a house up ahead caught my attention. It was much larger than all
others on the street. It was in good shape but could definitely stand a
coat of paint. It had a three-car garage and all the doors
were up. There
was an older woman, in her mid-to-late sixties, scurrying up and down
driveway moving things out of the rain, into the shelter of the garage.
parked my car along the curbside and without a word started helping her
the last remaining items under shelter.
“Thank you,” she said, as
the raindrops became larger and fell with greater frequency.
“No problem, m’am,” I
answered, and we finished up in silence. Just as we
brought the last piece into the garage the skies opened up and the rain
“Just in time,” she
said with a laugh. “For jumping right in and helping, you
deserve a reward. If you see anything you want, I’ll knock off another
“That’s a deal,” I
said, but as I looked around, I didn’t see anything
inspiring me to take advantage of her discount. It was the typical
There was some sports equipment abandoned by children long ago, some
that might be worth something, a lot of old records and hi-fi
probably worthless. There was a rack of dresses that at one time might
been glamorous, a typewriter from the early fifties with two old, “new
still in their boxes. There was furniture of various periods and styles
books, lots and lots of books. I wandered around the garage, making two
complete circles even though I realized I was just waiting for the rain
up a little so I wouldn’t get completely soaked on the way to my car.
“Not finding what
you’re looking for?” she asked.
“Well,” I answered,
“it’s never really wise to go garage sale shopping with a
specific item in mind. You’ll just end up disappointed. It’s better to
surprised by the unexpected item that you do find.”
“I’ve never heard it
put quite that way,” she said, “but I guess it makes
I kept walking around
and, if anything the rain seemed to be falling even
“How about a nice
chair?” she asked. She came over and gently took my shoulder
and turned me toward an old recliner in the center of the garage. “This
be my husband’s ‘end of the day chair’, at least that’s what he called
always said ‘at the end of the day I want my ass in this chair’,” she
a little embarrassed by her own comment until I joined in the laughter.
“That’s a good one,”
I said, “I’ll have to remember that.” I let her lead me
over to the chair.
“You’re about his
size,” she continued, “sit down and try it out. It should be
a pretty good fit.” With her hand still on my shoulder she turned me
me a little nudge and I plopped down into the chair. It was an
Boy recliner that both rocked and swiveled. It was covered with a soft,
brushed corduroy material that showed a few wear marks on the arms and
seat itself, but there were no holes or tears in the fabric.
“Pull the wooden
handle on the side there,” she instructed. I did as I was told
and the chair tilted back and the leg support popped right out and
“The mechanism is in
real good shape,” she said. “Harry really loved that
chair, so he took good care of it.”
“It is quite
comfortable,” I said, already imagining myself with a beer in hand
and a football game on television. I knew my wife would not be pleased.
plenty of furniture, it was the wrong color for everything else that
was in our
family room, and I already had a comfortable, upholstered rocker with
ottoman that was in better shape than this chair. I rocked my shoulders
and forth, settling myself into the chair and glanced over at where the
television would sit. It was then that I noticed it.
It was hanging on the
garage wall and didn’t have a price tag on it. Evidently
it was not part of the yard sale inventory. It was an old oil painting,
one of those old paint-by-number sets. It was about eleven by fourteen
in an overly ornate wooden frame that had no doubt previously held some
painting of much greater value. Whoever had done the painting
meticulously stayed within the lines of all the little areas and in
with light colors you could still faintly see the numbers underneath
It was a seaside scene that reminded me of my childhood summers at my
grandparent’s place on the Jersey shore. There was a wide expanse of
beach leading down to a gentle surf with three to four-foot breakers.
were some bathers and beach umbrella’s dotted along the shore but the
wasn’t crowded. Off in the distance a boardwalk lead towards a pier
an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, a rollercoaster and several
Outside, the wind
made a subtle shift and the rain began to blow into the
garage and some of the things in the front started to get wet.
“I hope you don’t
mind,” the woman said, pushing three buttons on the wall
alongside the door that lead into the kitchen. The three garage doors
lower automatically. She flicked another switch and several florescent
fixtures hanging from the ceiling flickered to life. I said nothing,
still staring absently at the picture.
As I stared at it the
harshly defined lines of differentiation between the
colors began to soften a bit and blur so it took on a more natural
I felt myself being drawn into the scene and I rose without standing
without moving until I was right at the edge of the picture. I paused
a second, then took that final step forward and felt the sand, warmed
summer sun, beneath my bare feet. I heard the laughter of the children
splashing gaily in the shallows, and beneath one of the umbrellas a
transistor radio played a Beatle’s song, the sound tinny and thin. I
smell the ocean salted air and the sweet aroma of cocoanut oil suntan
broke into a run and slashed into the surf. With knees high I kept
forward until the water was at mid-thigh level and then dove into the
face of a building wave. I floated on my back, letting the gentle
rolling of the waves envelope and caress me. I body surfed the breakers
what seemed like hours, laughing with the rest of the children around
a while I left the water and walked up onto the beach to a familiar
towel spread on the warm sand and knew that it was mine. I sat on the
facing the surf and, reaching behind me, picked up the sunglasses that
would be there. They were old aviator shades and they were hot from the
when I first put them on. I stared out at a couple of freighters that
steaming north toward the framed edge of the picture.
I don’t know how long
I sat there like that, but suddenly I felt a presence
standing on the beach beside me. I looked up into the eyes of a
girl who was probably twenty years old at the most. She wore a Catalina
one-piece bathing suit that showed off her spectacular curves, a pair
flip-flops, and carried a vinyl cooler bag, her towel rolled underneath
“Hello, darling,” she
said, “have you been waiting long?”
“Only forever,” I
said with a laugh and she sat down beside me, close, the way
I liked it. She opened up the cooler bag and took out two bottles of
and a bottle opener. She opened them up, handed one to me and we sat
peacefully, contented, sipping our sodas.
Later we swam and
splashed, and laughed, and beneath the surface of the water
my hands teased and explored as she alternately blushed and flirted. An
couple sitting side by side in the shade of their umbrella looked at us
nodding their heads, shared a whispered joke and smiled knowingly.
As the afternoon sun
began to fade into dusk we rose from our haven on the
beach and began to walk toward the boardwalk. As we climbed the steps
sand, I realized that I was now wearing a pair of khaki shorts, a blue
white striped T-shirt and a pair of penny loafers with no socks. She
simple, yellow strapless sundress that billowed gracefully around her
knees in the
gentle breeze coming in off the surf, and sandals. Her hair was pulled
into a ponytail and seemed to sparkle in the last rays of the setting
There were other couples strolling the boardwalk and, occasionally a
kid on a
bike, even though bicycles on the boardwalk were prohibited. We walked
hand, just enjoying one another’s company until the aromas flowing out
night air from a little Italian restaurant alongside the boardwalk,
candle was stuck in an old Chianti bottle; its sides coated with
multicolored layers of wax from countless other candles, in the center
red and white checked tablecloth. The legs of her chair scraped loudly
worn wood board floor as I pulled it out for her to sit. She ordered
“What are you going
to have?” she asked.
“Veal parmesan,” I
“But you always have
“It’s the perfect
meal,” I explained, “for what has already been a perfect
“And it’s still quite
early,” she said, with a mischievous glimmer in her eyes.
We sat long over
dinner, chatting about every subject under the sun. We talked
of dreams and aspirations. We talked of hopes and wishes. We talked of
and grandchildren. And when dinner was through, we shared a small bowl
spumoni and once more, hand in hand, went out into the night.
By now the sun was
long gone, but darkness didn’t stand a chance in the flashing,
swirling, glowing kaleidoscope of colors that were the lights of the
park on the pier. We rode all the rides, screaming together on the
rollercoaster, enjoying the view from the top of the Ferris wheel,
other frantically in the bumper cars and getting rammed by other
because we only had eyes for each other. In the mirrored room of the
experienced the great joy of being surrounded by fifty of her and the
excitement of finding the one that was soft and yielding to my touch.
tunnel of love became one long embrace and kiss and I would be hard
describe any of the attributes to the ride itself. But, my favorite
I always left until last, was the merry-go-round. I don’t know why the
is my favorite ride. Perhaps it is the simple innocence of swirling
music. Or maybe it’s the personal little envelope of space created
and that special person that you share the ride with. It might be the
of the brightly painted horses and carriages that draw you into their
unending parade. For us, in that moment, it was all of those things.
As we left the pier
and the amusement park behind us and continued our stroll
on the boardwalk, the prevailing light source became the moon and the
stars sprinkled across the black velvet of the night sky. We walked in
because there was nothing that needed to be said. We both felt complete
each other. The reflection of the moonlight upon the surface of the
beckoned like a glowing pathway to eternity and we were drawn once more
the sand and the surf. Hands clasped, while also carrying our
walked in the wet sand, letting the expiring waves wash up around our
we went. The water, though much cooler than it had been that afternoon,
nonetheless comforting and soothing. The beach was quiet and
We moved back up from
the waters edge and tumbled into the sand and one
another’s arms. Our kisses, no longer gentle and playful, became urgent
purposeful. In our eagerness, she tore my shirt, and though she
her voice there was just the faintest tone of triumph. As my hands
her body, I committed every square inch to memory. Her breathing became
as she yielded to her passion and her submission was generous and
Soon, our cries drowned out the noise of the surf around us.
Afterwards, we lay
side by side, tightly tucked into one another. Passion’s
sweat was now chilling on our bodies, yet we were reluctant to part. I
cradled her chin in my hands and gazed into her wide-open eyes and for
first time understood what it meant when I promised that I would love
forever. I wished that the world could stop at that very moment and
frozen in the little bubble of a universe we had created.
Suddenly my reverie
was shattered by the sound of electrical motors engaging. I
turned my head sharply to my left and saw the three garage doors going
“It seems the rain is
finally letting up,” said the woman in whose garage I now
once more found myself. I pulled the handle on the chair, lowering the
footrest, and stood, not sure how much time had elapsed since I had sat
looked out the door and realized that it was still mid-afternoon and it
only moments had passed. The rain was letting up but the sky was an
that more rain would be coming.
do you think about the chair?”
“Oh,” I said, “it’s
very nice, but I don’t think I have a spot for it anywhere
in my house.”
“That’s too bad,” she
said, “you looked like you were quite comfortable.”
I let her comment
slide and looked once more at the wall.
“How about that
picture?” I asked, pointing to the beach scene.
“Oh,” she laughed,
“that old thing? I couldn’t part with that. My husband
painted that for me many, many years ago.”
“I understand,” I
told her, “well, have a nice afternoon and good luck with
your ‘Yard Sale’.” I started to walk down the driveway when she called
“Feel free to stop by
anytime if you ever want to see that picture again.”
I wanted to turn back
and ask her what she meant by that remark, but she was
already going into the house, so I let it drop.
Back at home, I was
settled into my own, familiar, comfy chair, had a beer open
beside me and golf on the television. I made the last concession to
untied my sneaker and then stared in amazement as sand spilled out onto
floor as I pulled it off.
© 2017 Author
Bio: Mr. Crerand has been writing as a hobby for a
long time, but now that he is retired, He is looking forward to
developing his craft, improving his abilities, and finding an audience.
His work has previously appeared in "Lost Worlds,"
"Crossroads," "Dogwood Tales," and his serial "The Village" appears in
the first four issues of The Dark Sire
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