We spoke now, in hushed tones, and amongst ourselves, in small groups.
The fire was quite large and cast mad dancing shadows upon the beach,
over the sand and the driftwood and the rocks on the shore. The smoke
rose and was in our nostrils and in our clothing. It rose higher, twisting
and curling and throwing shapes into the night sky and was gone. A few
last stragglers joined the group.
One person finally stood up and we all settled ourselves comfortably
in the sand, feeling the coolness of it beneath us and the warmth of the
fire upon our faces. He stood up and was lit by the glow of the fire,
and he addressed the group. He talked of all of the things which he had
done and the things which he was going to do which were great and noble
and gave us all joy, and there was no dissention or jealousy or egotism.
We laughed and smiled with him and we all wished him great luck and happiness
and he lifted a glass and we all lifted our glasses and he drank and we
all drank and he smiled and saluted and threw his glass into the fire
where it sent a plume of embers careening towards the heavens and then
he turned and slowly walked away into the night over the sand of the beach
and then he was gone.
Someone else then stood up and he made a great speech and we all listened
and we loved him and he toasted us and we toasted him and we drank and
he was gone. Then another stood and spoke and was gone and then another.
Soon there were very few of us, and the speeches were longer and the love
was great and we began to feel sorrow at the going. Then the last speech
had been made and I toasted alone with the one who had spoke and I drank
and he drank and he was gone and I was entirely alone on the beach. The
fire died down to glowing embers and I was alone on the beach with the
waves booming and somewhere a mockingbird whistled and cackled and laughed.