And the Taxi Ride.
After Elizabeth sent Harry packing, several other couples in town followed suit. Most of these marriages were in trouble to begin with, and the mystery that surrounded Fiona and the sterling necklace was the coup de grâce.
One of the more interesting altercations, in my opinion, was something that happened between Clara and Angelina. These two ladies were the closest of mates, even in childhood. Ironically, the friends each married one of the Smith brothers, Clint and John. The boys were twins, but not identical.
Clara was married to John, and Angelina to Clint. In passing, Clara told Angelina that she thought Clint bore a resemblance to Fiona, and she wondered if he might be her father. In anger, Angelina told Clara that at least her husband was handsome, unlike John.
The only way to describe what transpired next is to say that the two had an all out brawl. A cat fight. No punches were thrown, but there was plenty of slapping and hair pulling and the two ended up on the ground. The ladies were in front of the Hemp Store when the fight broke out, and a couple of men who were passing by managed to break the girls apart.
Then there was poor Mr. Peabody. He was a loner, you see, and no one knew much about him. He spent most days in Hancock Park, feeding the ducks, and – as rumor had it – that park was his home. Belle came up with the wild notion that he might be Fiona’s father, because Fiona was the only one he ever talked to. Once, Belle had even seen him offering her a flower.
That old man was close to a meltdown when Belle started grilling him, and he ended up jumping into the lake just to get away. Fortunately, the guard was nearby when it happened, and he was able to fish him out before he drowned. After that, Mr. Peabody was never seen again.
Fiona was infuriated. Not only had the town’s people been prying into her business, invading her privacy, buy they were behaving like children. I suppose that what happened to Mr. Peabody was the last straw, because Fiona booked a flight to the Cayman Islands that very same day. She wanted to get as far away as possible.
As it turned out, I drove Fiona to the airport. I was the town’s only cab driver, you see. Folks in town seemed to enjoy the way that I could maneuver around traffic quickly, and still keep them safe. Plus I never charged a fee. I just enjoyed their company, and the nice little chats that we would have. You learn a lot about people when they’re in your car.
During the drive, Fiona went on and on, telling me how the town had gone mad.
“They’re a bunch of fools!” she shouted.
Then, for a reason unknown to me, Fiona decided to confide in me. She let me in on a little secret. Her father was most certainly not one of the locals as everyone had suspected. Her mother had been on a family vacation when the “incident” occurred. Her mother told her how she and the boy had met in her letter – the one that was enclosed with the sterling necklace.
I’m not sure why she didn’t say anything sooner, but I imagine she wanted to teach everyone a lesson. And it was a hard lesson at that. As I said before, the people in the town were never the same after that. I didn’t care to pry anymore either, as Fiona had already had enough, so I left it at that.
Fiona leaned forward and gave me a little squeeze at the airport, to thank me for the ride, and then she grabbed her bags and scurried off to board the plane. I checked the backseat to make sure she hadn’t left anything behind, as I always do, and there on the seat was a photograph – an old polaroid – which must have fallen from her bag.
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, but in that moment, words escaped me. In that photo was the most beautiful young girl that I’d ever laid eyes on, her hair flowing in the breeze, and a sterling necklace around her neck. The ocean sat behind her, a breathtaking backdrop, and it seemed to reach out toward eternity.
I tried to call out to Fiona, but it was too late. She was too far away to hear me through the roaring of the engines and the bustles of the crowd. But I needed to stop her, you see, because the boy who had taken the photo that day… was me.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the story! I sure had a fun time writing it. I was tempted to break this conclusion up into two, but I think it’s gone on for long enough, and I wanted to get the ending out there so – maybe – I can start a new story.
I wish I had more time to go into detail about the other characters involved, but it seemed like overkill and low on my priority list, especially since the illustrations take up so much time!
Speaking of that, the illustration was very hard. I found an image online for the basic forms and then added my personal touches. I liked using the oil paint effects because it made the girls a bit dirty and smudged, just as one might be after such an altercation. Ha! Fortunately I’ve never been in one – so I had to use my imagination.
That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading and I look forward to the next…
Peace & Love!
Word of the Day challenge: Flow