The rosy fingers of dawn stretched across the morning of the last poetry party. He watched her from the beach and forced himself to be patient, to think of a proper way to reenter his world. Otis resisted the urge to to run to Penny. A man cannot circle the globe reciting love poetry to everyone except his wife and then after two decades just expect her to simply take him back into her heart.
The great poet laureate hid behind a lifeguard tower and watched his lovely wife supervise their son Telly leap about on the sun deck of their home. Telly was 21 but due to severe autism, never developed speech. Otis shed tears of remorse for all the years he had missed with his family and may yet lose.
"Professor?" Telly's special ed teacher, Mr. Mentor, put his hand on the sobbing poet's shoulder.
"Shhh!" Otis pulled the teacher from view. Lost in grief, he had not noticed Mr. Mentor coming down the beach for the morning's in home lesson with Telly.
Mr. Mentor was relieved that Otis had returned. He told Otis that Telly had begun having nightmares that kept his mother by his side most of the night and that these nightmares began around the same time that Professor Antonio began to linger after the poetry parties. Mr. Mentor believed it was Telly's way of looking after his mother, making sure she was safe.
Mr. Mentor felt that Telly knew Antonio and the others were eating his food, drinking his father's wine and that Antonio wanted to steal his mother. Mr. Mentor confirmed Otis's worst fears about Telly's nanny, Melanie. She was always telling Mr. Mentor how Professor Antonio would make such a fine step-father for Telly. Otis devised a plan to at least comfort Telly while he worked out a master plan of how to approach Penny after all this time.
When Penny left for the grocery store to shop for the party, Otis slipped past the nasty nanny, Melanie, by wearing Mr. Mentor's cap and jacket. Telly immediately saw though his father's disguise. They had a happy time on the deck while Melanie was busy in the kitchen making as many long distance calls as she could before Penny returned from shopping.
"Look at the fine kite Mr. Mentor brought for you to fly in the kite festival this year! It has a little basket to hold this beanie bag puppy that looks just like Polutropos!"
The real Polutropos scampered across the deck to inspect the basket for anything edible. The chihuahua was tiny and sounded like a centipede wearing tap shoes when he ran.
"You see? This Polutropos has a special job. His job is to remind you that mommy and daddy will always love you. Let's put him in the basket and give him a ride in the clouds so he can tell the angels to watch over you and mommy until I come home to stay." Otis went to the edge of the deck to motion to Mr. Mentor that it was time to change places again. He looked back and saw Telly was holding the toy chihuahua to his heart and watching the real one leave the earth.
"O NO!" cried Otis at the sight of his wife's beloved Polutropos floating high in the sky out over the ocean.
"Polutropos! Stay in the basket!" Otis was sure the chihuahua was no swimmer and even if he was, he would probably serve as some sea creature's hors d'oeuvre before he had the opportunity to drown.
"This is not the way back into my Penny's heart!" Otis ran down the beach following the wayward kite with its trembling, barking cargo. He was almost parallel with the flying puppy when a stranger on the beach warned him to go no further.
"That beach is the turf of the Skylla Surfers! Do not go there! They are very violent this time of year!" The stranger said.
"I'm sure when I tell them the problem, they will understand and offer assistance." Otis was optimistic.
- to be continued -