Stella wriggled her toes in the soft, warm sand as she stood on the beach. The smooth roll of the waves toward the shore served to calm her nerves from an otherwise nasty, busy day at work. She inhaled the fresh salty air blowing in from the Pacific and then exhaled. At least tomorrow was another day. In her mind no two days were the same, so she never worried about encountering the same problems as the day before. And, if the same issue or issues did arise, she would handle it differently. The walks on the beach helped her to gain some perspective on the days events, so a better solution could come to light. It was a great way to relax and prepare. For the most part that strategy worked.
Being a merchandiser on a merchandising execution team at a home improvement store came with its challenges, but for the most part the job was fun. Most of her teammates were great. She was one of the guys, and they treated her with respect and she them. The challenge came with the other two females on the team. Most of the time they worked on other projects, so she never saw them. But at times, when they were around, the atmosphere could be rocky. Like today. The two of them were out of sight of Stella, but she could still hear their conversation regardless. And they knew it. Most of what they said was about her. How did she know? Her name was mentioned. They talked about how she wore her makeup and how she hung out with the guys then followed up their statements with a few choice names calling her a whore and a lost puppy dog.
Stella shook her head and let the wind blowing off the Pacific ocean blow the memory of the work day out of her head. She wasn’t any of those things. If anything she treated everyone with respect and remained nice to people. Her mother always told her one could catch more with honey than vinegar, and she was right in a way. But sometimes people were just nasty anyway. She smiled, turned to her right, and started walking down the beach.
The sun began its trek toward the horizon and cast a warm, comfortable glow on the sand making it the perfect time to look for little treasures that might be hidden beneath the sand, such as sea shells. At home she had a glassed in case of them. The ones she collected, she would take home, polish them, and put them the case.
She slid her feet forward in the sand as she continued walking. Then the odd feeling of a ring around her left big toe caught her attention. She raised her leg and grabbed her foot. “What the hell?”
(To Be Continued)