Heart of Clouds

by Adrienne D. Wilson

(for Walter Halsey Davis, my teacher, at the SB Writers Conference)

*page 39 in my book Heart of Clouds

Chapter “Secret Smile”

EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT. (Sunny to Fog light)

Teenie runs down the beach to get back to the driftwood hut. She is surprised to see that Devlin has left a red tailed hawk feather in front of the abalone shell, and that her note to him is gone, the stones rearranged. She climbs out and scans the dunes for him, but he is nowhere in sight. She picks some sandflowers along the dunes.

One of my images of the dunes at Carpinteria
My dog Odin, with some of the flowers that grow in sand – this at SB Harbor near Yacht Club


(whispers, puzzled)

He took my note, but he didn’t leave me a note back.

Teenie watches as the fog rolls in over the islands, smoothing the feather, and running it through her fingers.



Maybe he left this for me because he wanted to tell me he was a bird

Teenie places the feather in her journal, and decides to draw it, as a note for Devlin.

Close in, on her hand beginning to draw the feather, and under the feather’s picture, she writes:

boy of the dunes who left a feather

who are you and what is your name?

Teenie folds the note carefully into a paper airplane shape, places it in the abalone shell and weights it down with a stone. She doesn’t realize Devlin has been standing on the high cliffs watching her.

an image of mine for the “castles” for Devlin my character. Location is Loon Point, Padaro Lane – Carpinteria on the beach looking up.

Devlin watches Teenie running down the beach, until out of sight, around the bends in the cliffs. Then he squats down and traces a little heart in the sand at the clifftops. He pulls the harmonica from his pocket his grandfather gave him, and blows out a little tune, practicing. Close in on the hawks circling overhead turning pinwheels in the sky, and their cries as the fog rolls in.

Devlin makes his way down to the driftwood hut, two hawk feathers in his hands, arms outstretched, and sees that Teenie has taken the feather he left for her. Quickly he reads her note, and runs back to the village, to craft an answer. He runs so fast he bangs his knee against the door to his bedroom at his grandparent’s house. Grabbing a pen and paper he runs back to the hut as a thick fog rolls in. Close in on his hand as he begins to write the note for Teenie.

I am Devlin,

boy of the dunes and boy of the air who left you the magic feather and you are the sad girl I saw crying. I am the boy who built this driftwood shelter. I am fourteen years old and my mom died and so this summer my dad left me here with my grandparents, do you want to be friends?


Teenie passes her mother on the couch and heads to her bedroom with her notebook, Devlin’s feather safely tucked inside. Her first feelings for a boy. Curiosity, wondering what will happen next. She tucks the feather in her little jewelry box, looking at the things her father had given her. Slips a tiny turquoise ring on her finger. Wonders if the pie had cheered her mother up, even the smallest bit.

Christina sits before the television watching the news roll on about extinctions in the sea, of the fish.


it’s so awful Teenie. When I was little tuna fish sandwiches were my favorite


Mom did you like the pie?


It was great Teenie


Mr. Honeygarten loved it


I’m glad honey


You should have seen Melloman today


How was he?


Barking as usual, I wish we could have a dog, Mom


I know, Teenie. Maybe when the economy gets better we can.


(noticing the ring Teenie has on)

Teenie you are wearing that little ring

(takes Teenie’s hand in hers, and holds it, staring as if remembering her daughter at age five)


It only fits on my little finger now, Mom


You are growing up so fast sometimes I don’t know what to make of it


I miss dad, Mom


I know honey


I really miss him



I know you do sweetheart. I wish there was something I could do to help you, but I can’t.

Teenie’s mother’s eyes return to the TV set. Blankly staring. She retracts her hand which suddenly feels so cold., putting it in her pocket


Those poor fish. All those poor, poor little tuna fish. Extinct.

A pause as Teenie realizes she cannot connect with her mother. She feels invisible.


School’s going to be starting soon


I know Mom


Do you need anything?


No Mom, I’m okay


All right, sweetie. Why don’t you go see what we have for dinner

*to page 50 in my book Heart of Clouds – in this scene establishing the antagonist, in the mother. This is a “Cold” Family system, with the father gone, and so forth. Character arcs forthcoming. Both Teenie and Devlin have “problems” – they are beginning to reach puberty, first feelings of “liking” someone, also the innocent ways of that liking, and the notes explained here.

Image of a seal, on Linden, in Carpinteria near the dunes

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