Romp Around Miami




He stepped outside his modest, two-bedroom apartment and walked towards the bus stop just a block away. Gabriel was a young man, about twenty six who worked the overnight shift as a stocker at a local grocery store. He was of modest means but without want. Everything he needed, he had. Even some small luxuries he was able to afford through careful money management. He always wanted to prove this social theory of his. He wanted to prove that with a little knowledge and a lot of gumption, he could make it to Miami and back from West Palm Beach using nothing but public transportation in one day. It would also include taking in some sights and sounds, a beach stop or two and dining in a traditional south beach bistro. This endeavor would take a lot of planning and strategy. He felt he had what it took to get there and back in one piece and unscathed, other than by the hot Florida sun. He was a sharp guy, always was. Today, it seemed, was a long time coming. He had picked up the bus schedule about a month before. He also checked the commuter train's schedule. He coincided the two and checked which day of the week would be the most opportune to do this. He decided Thursday would be the best. Not only for the frequency, but also for the prices because there was a weekend premium attached to train tickets and less availability of both buses and trains on those days.
          He walked out about 6 o'clock in the morning towards the Congress Ave. bus stop located just south of Forest Hill Blvd. He jumped on the bus heading southbound towards the local state college. From there, he transferred to the eastbound bus that went to the commuter train station. He made it to the loading deck at about a quarter to seven. He walked over to the self-serve ticket vendor, inserted his change and pulled out the ticket stub. Just then, he spotted a old friend.
          Pamela was a friend from high school and was still as breathtaking as she ever was. Just as he looked over, she looked up and their eyes met. She flashed him a huge smile of instant recognition. Her face was as bright as the full moon. If he felt groggy from the early morning hour, that smile completely took it away and made his mood vibrant. They made their way towards each other and greeted one another with a big hug. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it as he was accustomed to doing in nervous situations. As he pulled out his, he offered her one. She declined only to pull one out of her own and light it up as well. They both giggled at the fact that they were both waiting for the southbound train to Miami at such an unusual hour. As their cigarettes burned away simultaneously, they caught up briefly on what they had been up to since they last saw each other a few years ago.
          Their last encounter was in downtown West Palm while both were bar hopping one night. They ran into each other and, soon thereafter, began little relationship. However, when Gabe got on the overnight shift, he inadvertently shed a lot of friends. Pam happened to be one of those casualties. Try as he might, he was never able to make it work. He always regretted that.
          So here they were, face to face, and she with such an amiable disposition. He felt like this was fate, or at least he hoped it was. While they spoke he was secretly wishing, with all his heart, that this wasn't just some fleeting coincidence. She had brought him up to speed on what she was currently up to. She apologized shortly after speaking because she felt like she had wasted his time somehow. Her life had been pretty uneventful since they last saw each other. He paid attention intently, though. He hung on her every word because her voice always sounded lyrical to him. When she spoke, he always imagined a Mozart string quartet playing behind her, complimenting her soothing soprano voice. It always gave her an innocent, very sweet aura. What he most noticed was the omission of a significant other.
He followed by briefly telling her what he'd been up to, which wasn't much either. Gabe also slipped it in that he wasn't involved with anyone and, of course, he wasn't. He could never lie to her no matter how advantageous it might be for him. For some reason, he held her opinion of him very high. He would never do anything, on purpose or accidentally, to make her think less of him. Somehow, though, this came easy to him because she always brought out the best in him. When he told her about the reason he was here this morning, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to join him on this little outing.
About that time, the train pulled into the station. They made their way on board between people getting on and off. Once on board, he took her by the hand in a very assertive way and led her upstairs to the second level. From there, they had a better view of the graffiti-laden walls to the west by the tracks and the on-going southbound traffic of the interstate to the east. Pam was always fascinated by Gabe's interest in that particularly peculiar art form, graffiti.
Gabe was interested in graffiti since about the age of twelve. The way he explained it to her when they first met in high school left an indelible impression. He explained his theory, the correlation of graffiti as modern-day western calligraphy. He had been doing it for some four years by then and had become quite good at it. He even went so far as to do her name in a 'piece' soon after they met. Between that and his intricately woven stories that kept listeners hanging on every word, she couldn't help but to think there was something special about him. So talented, energetic and fun. He, too, had feelings for her back then, hence the 'piece' for it was no easy task. Between the outline, color scheme and final score it was a total of four hours of complete concentration. From then on, whenever she saw something written on a wall in that style she always thought of him.
The train traveled swiftly between stops. They barely felt the hour and a half it took to get to the Metro rail transfer station. They talked the whole way down. She wondered what he had on his agenda besides just making it there. He obliged her. First, they had to make the Metro rail connection. Pam and Gabe got off the commuter train at the station. They made their way through the labyrinth of stairs. The stairs rose up and over the railroad tracks and back down again. Once down on the deck, they had to walk up another flight of stairs to get to the metro. It was an elevated train system in the city. This time, there was no ticket to buy. The tickets from the commuter train gave them permission to ride without having to buy another. They made it with no trouble. Once on, Gabe first checked out the local talent. He briefly looked at the graffiti written on the brushed aluminum seat separaters in broad-tipped permanent marker. He uncharacteristically made little commentary on the art. He was more concerned, or rather smitten with Pam. He couldn't remember the last time he smiled so much. She couldn't either.
It was still early, only about eight thirty. They were both looking at the upcoming high-rises from downtown. They had a mutual admiration for architecture. But they weren't here for the buildings, they were here for fun. When they arrived at their stop, they stepped off and down the stairs. They continued on to the last transport, the public bus. They smoked a cigarette while they patiently waited for the bus to get there. They didn't have to wait long. Scarcely had they put they're cigs out had the bus arrived. They hopped on, went directly to the back and took a seat. At this early hour, they ran into very few crowds. The bus was heading for Lincoln Ave. which was the trendy shopping district of South Beach. The bus took its usual route over the Bayside bridge east toward the beach. They soon reached their final stop and got off. Gabe thought their adventure was about to begin. However, it had begun at the loading dock back in Lake Worth.
No sooner had they gotten off the bus than they stepped into a local pizzeria for a slice and a drink. They both ordered cheese. They took the slices outside to eat at the tables on the sidewalk. They finished up and trashed what was left. As they started walking up the street, she asked what was next. He pointed up and signaled to the local surf shop. They went in and headed straight for the bathing suit department. She was unprepared for the beach. When Pam left her house that morning, she couldn't have imagined that she would be going to Miami with an old friend, much less the beach. Gabe invited her to pick out whatever bathing suit she wanted. She chose a very tasteful, yet still sexy hibiscus print bikini. Every bikini sold on the strip was sexy, though. South Beach is well known for its fashion. They also bought a couple of towels and were on their way.
A few blocks and a couple of minutes later, they came to the beach. Gabe was looking for the bathrooms but Pam spotted them first. They both went into the men's bathroom. This was a precaution so that no sickos could get her alone to inflict some terrible damage. He came out first, then her. He was looking in the mirror when she came out of the bathroom stall. He saw her reflection, then turned to look at her. She threw her arms straight up and did a little turn. She wanted to know how he liked it. He walked over to her, cupped her face in his hands and gave her a kiss. She threw her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her tight. They kissed for just a minute but it seemed like an eternity for both of them. They stopped and pulled away but still holding each other wondering why they didn't try to make it work the first time. But they were here together now. After this episode, they made their way across the walking/biking paths, over the wall and onto the sand.
Pam and Gabe set their things down on the sand and took off running for the water. She jumped in first. He was close behind her. She stood up and he tackled her back into the water, just like she wanted. Since the kiss moments earlier, she was already thinking of ways to get closer to him. Frolicking in the water, Gabe couldn't help but notice how the sun glistened off her bronze skin. He thought to himself just how lucky he was to be with such a beautiful girl in this lovely place. They calmed down just enough to look at each other and start smiling again. Then they kissed again. He went back under and did a couple of hand-stands for her amusement. She laughed. They climbed out of the water and laid on the sand. They were lying on their backs in the white sands of the beach. Looking over the beach side condos, Pam mentioned how unlucky those people must be. South Florida was highly prone to hurricanes. Not to mention the housing boom which drove real estate prices sky high. Those who bought them were in way over their heads in debt and would soon taste the bitterness of poverty. The conversation shifted back to a lighter topic. They talked some more, this time about the very near future like what's for lunch. They decided on Wet Willie's on Ocean Ave. They laid on the beach for another half hour before getting up and rinsing off at the showers. They dried off and put their clothes on over their bathing suits.
Sitting at the sidewalk tables, Pam ordered the mahi with a margarita. Gabe got shrimp scampi with a pineapple something. They both enjoyed the food, they enjoyed each others company more. They wrapped up lunch and lit up. They sat there talking about the latest movies out. Gabe suggested they take in a flick. Pam agreed. They took a stroll up to the Lincoln Promenade and walked into the theater. Neither of them really cared what they went to see. They went more for the air condition and privacy. The whole way there, they had their arms around each other. T.B.C.©