Lost and Found
By Kenneth Spadafora
“Hazy Hot and Humid” the radio announcer chortled suddenly, waking me abruptly. I shifted slightly, rolled, hitting the snooze button much harder than I should have, while ignoring a damp, clammy sheet. Three sleep slumber seconds later, it was show time again, he was back on! “Really going be quite a scorcher” he blared again” the beach will be your only hope of relief” he announced gleefully. Having had enough. I pulled the plug. Yawning, stretching, I struggled to sit up , feet hitting the cool floor sending a caffeine like jolt to the brain. A bright beam suddenly caught my eyes instantly. Raising my right hand across my eyebrow in some kind of mock salute I found myself in the middle of some sort of crazy quilted reflections dancing along the ceiling. Squinting I realized my motorcycle was angled like a telescope to my bedroom window sending myriad reflections directly into the room. I was in its hypnotic trance. Deciding right then and there to do just what the radio jock advised; go to the beach. Packing assorted beach items including my brothers metal detector just for fun I thought. Thirty minutes latter spiraling east down Sunrise Highway, the the hot pine barons air gave way to the cool tantalizing Shinnecock bay breezes. Saluting my favorite portly billboard police officer I slowed made a quick right over the RR tracks passing the defunct windmill at SUNY’s Southampton Stony Brook campus
. Leaning left at the light, passing the reservation where I swear I could smell the tobacco. Into the labyrinth of hedges and privy streets ofAmerica’s favorite neighborhood I steered the bike to the guardrail at the end of one of the fingers of streets that dead-end to theAtlantic Ocean. Two and half million Long Islanders never tire of this indelible image mentally imprinted on their young Robert Moses impressionable minds. Sun, sky, sand and surf . Seconds later firmly ensconced near waters edge I break out 8 new AA batteries. Load them in, slap the velcro around my left arm , flip the detector on. The LED lights eerily. Bells and whistles follow, I’m in business. Putting earphones up and over my head and I start sweeping wide arcs slowly left and right like swaying a scythe through wheat. Ten minutes and 35 cents , 2 bottle caps into this I stop completely . It’s more work than I thought. Better to wait until its cooler , let the beach empty out a bit I decide. Beside I could really use a drink and take a dip. Turning I’m face to face to face with two woman standing5 feet. ” Excuse me mister , is that machine for a metal ? ” the older of two asked in what I could only surmise was a hard to define Swedish accent . Before I could wrap my head around a sensible reply , ” My daughter lost her engagement ring ” she went on. I glanced over to the forlorn , demur young lady, suddenly realizing this would not be as simple as it appeared. “An engagement ring ? ” I asked in a lilting voice , more rhetorically than informational gathering. ” Ya Ya , two weeks ago , a platinum ring , 1 and 1/2 diamonds ” Whew ! I thought to myself that may also explain their seemingly lack of momentary urgency ; it also significantly reduced as well any good chance of actually finding it. I reached for my wallet , pulled out a business card. ” I’ll look some today ” handing her the card . “ In the next two days I’ll return , search some more OK ?” She nodded . ” Call me by the end of the week , I should be able let you know if I come up with anything , all right ? ” She nodded. The actual thought of asking for their number disappointing them was not a call I would have wanted to make” Why don’t you walk ahead to the area of the beach you may have been in ” I suggested. The detector is LED sensitive enough to alert me to any find to indicate what I’m actually detecting. “Some of my digs may be for be a coin , other jewelry or metal object ” I declared .They understood . A few short steps along I had my first shinny new quarter. They smiled a bit sadly , turned and reluctantly went forward. Fifteen minutes further and suddenly my LED display begins flashing a unrecognizable ring sign. I scope quickly ,hear as well as feel simultaneously an object against the back of the metal scope. Up from the earth the sand melts away from the bucket and a brilliant sparkling ring is radiating all alone at the bottom of the receptacle. No diamond in the rough this. An expletive deleted silently leaves my lips; a small sigh of unbelief . I instantly look up , the woman are fifty feet away with their backs toward me obliviously to the find. I go to call, suddenly realizing I really didn’t know their names. ” Excuse me , hello, hello ” I manage to exhale in a increasing volume like a errant phone caller to a non-existent party. The young lady turns first , her mother follows ,then both turn to look at each other. The young lady suddenly sprints forward , in no time standing inches from my extended hand , thumb and forefinger pressing lightly on the platinum ring as if in an offering . She slightly bends her knees into a half stoop, puts both hands on her face and cries ” Oh my God ! Oh my God ! quite loudly. ” I can’t believe it , I can’t believe it ” only then taking the ring from me and turning to her mom who has managed to arrive by then. They both embrace and incredibly enough a few people standing along the beach who have become to realize what they are witnessing begin to clap and applaud. I become self conscious , turn and begin to walk away. ” Wait , Wait , Mister , Mister , you be stay here OK ! Ok ! . I nod my head in understanding. They both head to the street , enter their car and drive off. I turn, put the detector away and decide to take a swim .Half hour later, I’m packing up my gear on the motorcycle. Key in the ignition ,helmet securely on, I see the young lady turn the corner. Alone in a late model convertible Mercedes ,she pulls up adjacent to my bikes, exits the car smoothly . The motor’s left running. Walking in front of her vehicle, and now dressed in evening wear she hands me a small box with a ribbon and envelope slipped inside . ” You saved my life ” “You saved my life “ she repeats. First time I heard her speak . Her voice , English more perfect than I would have suspected from even my own 28 year old daughter. ” Thank you . Thank you ” . She shakes my hands lightly , turns, heads back to her car. Strangely enough a young man on a motorcycle glides up the street at the same moment and witnesses all this ; he had a very confused look on his face . Truth be told, I was a bit dumfounded myself ! . She reverses the car , smiles , waves with one hand . Turning the corner ,waves once again gently; before disappearing behind the hedge grove privet . Puff ! Magic ! , gone, into thin air , quick just like that . I sighed deeply. The box and envelope tucked under my arm , a small joy. I pack it away .Her name better I never asked I thought while also wondering if her fiancée ever even knew the ring was lost or found for that matter. Didn’t really matter at this point , I surmised. I glanced up .The young man still stood standing nearby looking for all the world for some kind of explanation. I give him none; shrugged my shoulders nonchalantly . I kick the bike’s ignition over , flick my wrist over the throttle, all the power of a 900 cc engine came roaring to life. Soon enough , speeding down the Montauk highway , back home, mouth and jaw held tightly together from suppressing a sweet grin . Afraid of blowing my cheeks apart like some kind of pumped up combination trombone player and troubadour. And all along thinking simultaneously to myself ; not a very bad day indeed Kenny , certainly not bad at all ! Sunset overSunrisenever looked so sweet ; Sweet enough indeed !!