It took Phoebe the better part of two days to decide what to paint as a watercolor postcard.
“Would she like a fish or a bird?” she questions herself out loud, quite sincerely. “Maybe a fish, since we are in the Bahamas,” she answers.
Holding the fish reef chart we take diving with us, she carefully looks and looks at the different fish, debating all the way.
“Maybe a nurse shark? Or a blue tang?” She keeps on looking until she settles on a blue parrot fish, painted in watercolor on a postcard, complete with three baby turtles and a piece of purple coral. The painting takes the better part of another day.
After the postcard is addressed and the watercolor dry, we head into the settlement to the post office, first believing it’s open every day from twelve to three. But it’s not. And when we learn it’s only three days a week, we carefully carry the card back home and wait until the next day to return in the golf cart.
Promptly at noon on Friday, we return, greet Ms. Sands who runs the post office the nine hours a week it’s open, buy one 50 cent stamp, lick the stamp;
“Really? you lick it?” she asks.
“Yes.” She hands it to me with a grimace and I do the honors. We hand the postcard back to Ms. Sands and head to the golf cart, our mission complete.
We ride home in silence among the swaying palms, in the Bahamas heat.
“Do we have to lick the stamp because we are in the Bahamas?” Phoebe asks.
“All stamps used to be like that,” I tell her, “down here they still are.”
In my mind, I am calculating that it’s least a day or two till that card gets off the island, another day or so in Marsh Harbour then to Nassau then to the States, it’ll be a while until it makes it to South Boston. Phoebe doesn’t see the calculation quite the same, raised I guess in the “here and now” world of today, she thinks it will be whisked away instantly like an email.
The very next morning, she walks half-awake into the kitchen.
“I hope she likes her post card when she gets it today.”
“I am sure she will.”