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Shell on the beach

The sand was too hot so I went back to get my flip-flops then headed over to where the child had started screaming. The water was calm by then, and the tide washed between my toes and the soles of my flip-flops like a baby or a dog angling for a hug.

There was nothing in the water bar the sand. No fish, no crabs, no sharp stones or fragments of metal. Nothing that could lead to a scream. So I put my foot into the sand and poked it with my toe and flip-flop, stirring it up, until I saw it: a shell, its two halves still attached.

It wasn’t moving. It didn’t look hurt or traumatised. It sat, slightly submerged by some grains of sand as if it had neither heard the scream nor the ensuing raised voices and cries of concern.

Squatting, I watched the sand swill around it, slowly covering it again and pushing it gently towards the shore until, suddenly, it winked. Only slightly, but a wink nonetheless, a twitch, a movement caused by the sand or the tide or the reflection of the sun.

It was smiling. It knew what it had done and wanted me to know too.

I looked over at the child wrapped around his parents legs hugging them and wailing. He had splashed water over my clothes, my phone, my book. Everyone would think it was an accident.

I covered the shell quickly and called them over.

(Post inspired by http://madison-woods.com/index-of-stories/081012-2/)

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2 thoughts on “A Wink

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