Silver Chain (Petra y Billy)

Juancho pulled in by the Puesto de Petra. She ran out. He followed and set down the box with the supplies for the frituras, a sack of flour, a can of fat, strings of land crabs, racimos de platanos. The very thin, tall, dark skinned husband bent down to peck the shorter, softer, brown skinned woman on the lips. She turned away from him. He trotted to the car, the very same one he drove all day. He drove away as fast as he could because there would be no fares, at this hour, from the Playa to the center of Coral.
It was barely sunrise. Petra locked the supplies inside and ran. She followed the shoreline toward the mangle and veered into the playita. The inlet was shielded from the main beach by a wall of sea pines and seagrapes on one side and the mangrove forest on the other. At this hour there was no one. She breathed in the salty, fishy air. "I'm eating Mother Earth." She spoke the words and then she sing songed them softly and then she belted the words out. This was her secret place and her secret moment. Every day she had her one moment of joy before the frituras began to cook her. She slipped out of her flowered dress, dropped it on the sand and waded into the warm brine. She floated on her back and then swam out to the sand bar. She stood and walked onto the tiny island. At this hour the tide was out and the land was fully exposed. She lay on her belly, her cheek turned to one side, inside her sea pine bower. She was naked but for a silver chain and a small silver charm similar to a cowrie shell.
Billy leaned against his surfboard, watching her. "You are a goddess." He spoke to her in English.
"Dormiste aqui?" She could see the indentation in the sand where he had slept. "Que va a decir el Admiral?" His father, Admiral Miller, favored her puesto when he ventured off the Base Naval. If he only knew! Billy shrugged. He came closer. "You are my Taina goddess." He was very strong from never working to spite the Admiral but always working out, and very tan from surfing. His long sun bleached hair was braided down his back. He held her silver chain. "Tell me her name again." Petra turned onto her back and faced him. "Se llama Atabey." He studied the charm replica of an Atabey glyph. "Una concha. Mi concha."
He stepped out of his long, flowered shorts and loved her. They loved each other. He loved her again. "Twenty minutes," he said. She stroked his hair. "Veinte minutos de eternidad."
She swam back to the playita, stepped into her dress, jogged back to Puesto de Petra, undid the padlock, and set to mixing flakes of soaked salted codfish into the flour.