The sun peeked into Ellowyne’s room and gently awakened her. She yawned, stretched, and inhaled the fresh ocean air deeply. To her surprise, Lizette, Amber, and Pru were also stirring, and it looked like all of them would be able to get breakfast before they went shopping. They indulged in johnnycake, conch fritters, and grits. Ellowyne and Prudence eyed the grits suspiciously, but Amber and Lizette gorged themselves. Liz grew up with them in New Orleans, and Amber was introduced to them the first time she went to the Bahamas with her parents. Once their appetites were quelled, they marched to the marketplace to hunt for treasures.
The women rummaged through a plethora of clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Most items were handmade, and many of them were one-of-a-kind. Prudence found some conch shell and pearl jewelry, and naturally, all of the women decided to get some. Ellowyne was surprised that yards of batik fabric were for sale, and she bought several yards of different colors and motifs. Somehow, she had missed the fabric on her solo venture Monday. Lizette got some wood carvings and coconut sculptures for her parents as well as some batik dresses and straw hats for herself. And Amber purchased some clothes and jewelry, then more clothes and jewelry, then just a few more dresses and a couple of pairs of earrings.
Ellowyne, Amber, Lizette, and Pru hauled the wonderful things they bought back to the hotel. It was a little after 1:00 in the afternoon and their tummies were rumbling, so they decided to break for lunch. As they awaited their food, Lizette quipped, “It’s a good thing we have your family’s plane, Amber. Otherwise we would never be able to get all our stuff on a commercial flight!”
Of course, everyone laughed. Prudence asked, “So, what are we doing this afternoon?”
Amber yawned. “I think you all wore me out,” she said. “I’m going to take a nap.”
Pru, Ellowyne, and Lizette exchanged glances. “We might go back to do a little more shopping,” Ellowyne said. “I need to get a souvenir for Rufus.”
“That boy has you whipped.” Amber laughed, eliciting giggles from Lizette and Pru.
“And because you laughed, Lizette and Prudence, you are coming with me,” Ellowyne stated.
When they finished lunching on cracked conch, crab, and shrimp, Amber retired to her room and the other three friends went back to the marketplace.
“I don’t think Amber suspects a thing,” Prudence said. “I just hope we can find a thank you present for her parents.”
“What do you think about some art?” Ellowyne asked. “Maybe a painting or a sculpture…”
“But we can’t afford too much,” Lizette warned. “I mean, there’s no way we can spend as much as the Stanhopes might.”
“True,” Ellowyne admitted. “I think if something comes from our hearts, that might be worth more to the Stanhopes than just throwing money at something.”
As they walked through the marketplace, Prudence spied an art gallery. The Stanhopes loved all kinds of art, from abstract to realistic, from so a sculpture or painting would be certain to please them. The real problem was cost. The women were afraid they couldn’t afford anything, even though they were pooling their resources. The paintings and sculptures near the front of the gallery were exquisite. The artists were well-known but their works commanded high prices. The women walked toward the back of the gallery and came upon some works done by emerging artists. Ellowyne saw a painting that made her gasp. It was a bright, colorful pastiche that featured abstract faces of women singing and a man—or maybe the sun—a focal point in the painting. It cost a little more than the three friends wanted to spend, but the gallery owner lowered the price after he heard their story.
Prudence said, “Well, we might as well take this back to the hotel.”
“Oh, wait,” Ellowyne exclaimed. “I almost forgot! I need to get a souvenir for Rufus!”
“I’m heading back,” Lizette said. “I don’t want to lug this thing around more than I have to.” Then she and Prudence headed back to the hotel.
It didn’t take Ellowyne long to find just the right souvenir for Rufus. A silver fish coin pendant on a chain for him, a silver hibiscus necklace for herself, and she was done shopping, at least for the day.