"I've gone ahead and changed without you. Things have been empty as of late."
I stretch my legs out on the sand. It feels cold on the surface but if you dig your fingers deeper, it's still warm from the afternoon sun. We have no blanket to sit on.
"Empty as I said but they're still going on. Moving forward."
It's a gray overcast day and a mild breeze is blowing. I am dressed in slim cut blue pants, nearly new ankle boots, a black cashmere sweater, and a corduroy peacoat. The sea is the color of silvery steel tinged with white and blue.
I am wearing Raybans.
"Have you forgotten about me?" Mr. Gryphon looks at me, his great golden eyes blinking slowly.
"Then where the hell have you been?"
"Not in Hell, not here. I still haven't missed the story, though. It may seem things are moving on but they haven't. The story still remains to be told."
"Take off those damn sunglasses, please. I never get to see you anymore and I want to see your eyes."
I pull them off, squinting at first, tucking them into my coat pocket. I do not reply to his comment. I don't do this because I don't have to. He merely wants to vent a little so I let him.
"You are insufferable, Miss Turtle."
"Your patience is much appreciated, Mr. Gryphon." I am not looking at him instead I stare out to sea.
"Mock Turtle and Gryphon are always together and you are always here. With me."
"What about those others?"
"Yes, they are here as well and perhaps I've been focusing a lot on them lately but you're the only one who actually follows me around. You're sitting behind me right now on our red couch as I write this post. The others usually only show up in the stories."
"Except for that one guy who just sort goes where he wants." He sounds sulky.
"He's an angel. Leave him be."
"I was an angel. Did you know there's some evidence that griffins originated as angels or vise versa?"
"I think you might have mentioned that before."
"He must have an ingot to have that kind of free access to everywhere. Can't he stay in the library with the rest of the folks. Or in the mansion? Aren't there enough tunnels and blue doors for him to explore?" He kicks a little sand. It's low tide and the water has peeled back to reveal dark brown sand.
I smile. "He just likes hanging around in places. Don't worry, he will soon fall in love and stay within his story after that. Besides, why can't he or anyone else in the stories wander around?"
"They don't know all the rules and start confusing things. There are a lot of them. And they always freak with they see T-Rex and they gawk at the frogs. They just...mix things up."
"That's not the only reason why you're uncomfortable, Mr. Gryphon. You know just as well as I do that there's plenty of room for everyone."
"They don't know us at all." He is hugging his knees and looking down at the sand.
"Maybe you should all try to get to know each other."
"You're just grumpy today."
"Grumpy everyday," he mutters.
"Yes, and I know that's my fault."
"Been too long," he says.
"Yes, it has been. I'm sorry. It's just been tough lately." I scoot closer to him. He glances at me then tentatively reaches out and puts his feathery arm around me. I settle against him. He is warm and his scent is comforting.
"Someone once told me my problem wouldn't be writer's block. It would be that there are too many damn stories and I would have difficulty with sorting them out and getting them done. He was right about that. And now my attention suffers from the lack of time and energy."
"You're mentioned that before, Miss Turtle."
"I mention it because it's something I need to work on. Better scheduling, focus, or something."
"Just a variation of your Endurance concept."
"Is that all?" I sigh. "You make it sound so easy."
"It's not easy. None of it is. You think everyone can write a blog post like this one?"
"I suppose not." I hear the strains of a quartet behind me. "Speaking of the frogs, what have they got up to?"
"I asked them to set up at the edge of The Forest and play a few tunes towards sunset time."
"Is it that time?"
"Well, lets go in for some tea before dinner."
"We need to have an adventure. Everyone is restless about it."
"You especially, I'm sure." I stand up with his help and we walk across sand towards The Forest. The frogs are dressed beautifully, all in lace jabots, velvet waistcoats, and fine frock coats. Their music is lovely. We nod at them as we pass.
"I've asked them to play during dinner."
"You'll join us, won't you?"
I smile up at him, tucking my arm in his. "Of course."
We walk on. The Forest is bursting with green even with the overcast day. We take a well-worn path to my Library. The Forest recedes and we walk down the gentle rolling hill towards the pond. Swans drift in majesty. I look up at the huge doors and massive stone steps. It has been a long time since I've been here. We climb the steps and take one of the smaller side doors in. When I step through the massive threshold, the Library staff are waiting, all decked out in velvet robes. They bow.
"Guys, no need to be so formal," I say but I'm still very pleased that they've come to meet us. One of them helps me out of my jacket. Mr. Gryphon reaches out to take my hand. I slip my hand in his and give it a good squeeze. We walk down the steps into the massive reading room with its stunning cathedral architecture. It's good to be home.