“Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path,
if you are only willing to listen.”
~ Jimmy Buffett
Jade French stepped from the cab transfixed by the tangled mass of vines that nearly obliterated the hotel’s wide front porch. The web seemed even more overgrown than when she was here two months ago. But it sent a heady aroma—not too sweet, not too herbal—into the mid-morning air and helped erase some of the uncertainty rolling through her. No.
No hesitation—this was the exact right thing to do.
As she wandered toward the front steps something squawked on the far end of the porch and she moved in for a better view. Two gorgeous macaws—one red and one blue—in a giant brass cage, sat on thick pieces of a tree branch watching her. One tilted its head and squawked. The sound was harsh in the quiet neighborhood.
Best friend Mari wrestled her backpack from the taxi, walked a few steps toward the house, then dropped the pack on the driveway. Dust puffed into the air and she coughed.
Jade laughed. “Some crushed oyster shells would really help keep down the dust.”
She walked toward Mari to gather her things, pointing over her shoulder. “Aren’t they beautiful?”
“What?” Mari asked with a frown.
“The birds.” Jade gestured again. “I wonder if they talk.”
Mari Anderson approached the porch, went up two of the stairs, held onto the ...