Editor's Note: For the first time in the history of the San Mateo County Fair, a 300-page anthology has been published that includes more than 100 stories, poems and essays from writers who submitted award-winning work for the fair's literary contest. The idea was the brainchild of Bardi Rosman Koodrin, a San Bruno resident who runs the fair's literary contest, and the anthology, titled "Carry the Light," features work from many Peninsula writers.
This short story, which appears in the "Carry the Light" anthology, won third prize in the historical fiction category for the San Mateo County Fair literary contest.
From p. 46, "Rebekkah’s Story"
Word of the ship’s imminent arrival traveled to the mercantile, as swiftly as the incoming fog to China Beach. Yes, it was summer in San Francisco. Rebekkah’s heart fluttered beneath her calico print blouse. It was 3:30 p.m. From past experience, it would take another hour for the shipping vessel to berth. If there were no customers, she’d lock up early and head to the harbor. It had been five long months.
The mercantile was within horn-blowing distance of the dock. She heard the horn sound at precisely 4:30 p.m. Luck smiled on Rebekkah this afternoon; there were no customers. She wrapped her wool shawl around her petite body. Even though it was July, the fog chilled the summer‘s heat along the coast. She flipped the sign to “Closed” and locked the door behind her. Her feet moved her slender frame at a rapid pace. She had been longing for this day, longing for her Francisco. Her body ached for his strapping arms to embrace her and hold her through the night. She tripped slightly as the aching created sensation throughout her body. She must keep her head about her. There would be business for him to take care of first.
As she approached the dock, her sage green eyes began to search. If it weren’t for the fog, her hair would be gleaming red in the sun. Her heart began to beat with a quickness that love brings. Yes, that love brings. She had fallen deeply in love with Francisco. Two people, two paths, two souls, now tangled in a togetherness that nothing could separate, except perhaps death.
She spotted the deckhands beginning to unload the barrels of goods. She knew the routine. It would be a short while before Francisco would meet her at the pier, for he was the captain and there would be paperwork to complete. She proceeded to the weathered bench and took a seat. He would know exactly where to find her. They had shared this routine before. This would make number five. She could hardly wait to see him and grab him in a huge hug, knowing he would respond with the same.
As she took her seat, she pulled her collar up to warm her neck. It was July, one of the chilliest months of the year. She gathered her skirt close to her legs to keep them warm. Her mind began to wander back to the day she first met Francisco.
Ah yes, it had been November, 1894, right here at this very spot.
Excerpted from "Carry the Light" with the permission of Sand Hill Review Press, the publisher. The book is available for purchase for $12 on Amazon.com.
Renee Rojas is an award-winning published poet and photographer. She is also the author of "What Color Is God?" a children's story with a timely message. Visit her website at www.ReneeRojas.com.