“Water gives life. It also takes it away.”
This post is being linked up to The Red Dress Writing Club prompt where we are to write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements in less than 600 words. This is my very first piece of fiction writing! I am very nervous about stepping outside my comfort zone but excited as well. I am looking forward to exploring this story in its entirety!
The waves rumble as they pound toward the sandy beach. My toes are quickly sinking into the soft sand, holding me hostage in one spot. Cold water swirls gently around my ankles before retreating back once more. The warmth of the sun hits my bare shoulders. The aroma of coconut fills my nose completely and a moment later is carried away on the breeze.
The ocean is a place I like to come and think. Ponder all the possibilities and all the what if’s.
My eyes had to adjust from the bright sunlight; to be sure I was not seeing things. Off to my right danced a pink water bottle in the crashing surf. My heart began to race as it knew before my brain did.
“That’s Mandy’s” my lips barely whispered.
I tried to lunge toward the pink speck, which I would not let out of my sight; but my feet, now ankle deep in dark wet sand, were anchored. The tide met me once more creating mini-pools around my legs. With a few hearty rocks back and forth, I was free and sprinting. Plunging into the waves like a hurdler, my hands grasped the rosy nalgene bottle. How many times had this been raised to my daughter’s mouth to quench her thirst? Hundreds? Maybe thousands of times? It still had the black heart shapes drawn all over the surface with black Sharpie. These hearts were to distinguish between hers and mine. We received matching bottles after a 5k charity run for the Susan B. Komen Foundation.
I am transported back to our kitchen island. Mandy is opening our pen drawer and removing a white opaque pen with a black top.
“What are you doing with that?” I asked.
“Mom, I don’t want you using my bottle!” Mandy answered as she uncapped the permanent marker.
Wiping the counter I said “Does it matter? They are both the same.”
“Exactly! I want mine to be mine and yours to be yours. So, I am drawing hearts on mine. I can decorate yours too if you want. Stars or flowers?” she looked at me with one raised eyebrow, a gift inherited from her father for sure.
“How about stars?” I smiled.
“Stars it is!” she quipped while coloring in the first bubbled heart shape. We both giggled.
“Dear. Dear!” The slight touch on my shoulder shot me back to the present the giggles becoming only echoes.
“Dear! Are you okay?” A tanned elderly woman, bent at the waist was hovering over me. Her soft white curls flowing around her bug-eye sized sunglasses.
“Are you okay? You ran over here so fast and then it looked as if that wave just took your feet smack out from under you. You’ve been sitting here for a few minutes…holding that.” She said in a gentle voice, pointing to the bottle I had clutched to my chest.
I tried to speak, but my voice was vacant. My mouth opened and then closed .
“Why don’t we stand up and move back just a wee bit. Hmm? Ok? High tide is coming in and I don’t want that big ‘ole sea to just up and take you.” She did not realize the heaviness of her words. She was just being kind and trying to help. She had no idea that the sea had done that to me already. Exactly 72 days ago, it took my youngest daughter from me, without a trace or a clue of where she is.
Until now. I looked down once again and notice there is something in the bottle.
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