She broke the surface of the sand gasping occasionally for air, her fingers clawing at the sky. I stood stock still staring at the impossible. How could such a vagabond go unnoticed by other strollers on this secluded Casablancan beach? I heard no calls for help. The castaway almost seemed to embrace its forlorn destiny embedded deeply in the sands of time. Looming only a few meters from where I stood in disbelief, I watched as the surf covered and then released it, a sad but eternal dance of nature, dominating the figure and then reconsidering with every watery surge and retreat.
I decided to risk an intervention. Moving stealthily forward I knelt beside the fallen warrior and offered consolation. Then with rising urgency I began to claw at the shackles that bound this form to its solitary grave. Bit by bit I felt the body moving, the long submerged spokes gradually rising from the grip of death.
After several intense moments of excavation I gave a final tug and pulled the helm from the beach. I laid it down on the surface of the sand and washed its face gently with the same surf that had moments earlier gagged it. And then I stood and carried it far up the beach where I could sit and whisper words of hope.
This beach miracle found its way into the opening chapter of my story entitled Rhapsody of Brooklyn:
He snuggled down in the feather bed and pulled Houda close. “Close your eyes, my love. It was long, long ago when my great grandmother, Maimouna, walked alone on the Casablanca beach hours after a great Atlantic storm. She came across a helm sticking out of the sand. She was so excited. She dropped to her knees and began to dig. And when she finally pulled the great helm from the clutches of the sand, she almost shrieked. For hiding beneath the ship’s wheel was this dragon….
I still have this helm. It hangs on the wall in my home. (I let the dragon go).
(Did anybody else ever find a great treasure on a beach)?
P.S. Read the story in my book Teatime in Old Havana.