Prompt time! This is Week 20 of Odd Prompts. This one comes from my own wanderings on the Oregon coast thanks to a friend of mine who owns a house in a small town out there. Sadly, due to the Wuhan flu madness we won’t be able to get to Oregon this year so I will miss my beach wanderings. Sigh.
My prompt came from Mike Barker: When she held the seashell to her ear, first she heard the crashing waves, then the songs the mermaids sing, and then… a timid little voice said, “Mommy? I want to go home now?”
The prompt I sent went to Kat Ross.
The Beach Fixes Everything
The waves crashed against the beach and Maria sighed with happiness. She loved the beach. The sound of the waves was soothing, the far distant horizon promised unending adventure (even if she didn’t venture over it), and the cool water washing over her feet smoothed away all her worries, stress, and fears.
She wandered down the beach watching her footprints appear and disappear in the wet sand. Tiny, glass-like jellyfish were scattered about and she was careful not to step on any of them although she was pretty sure they just oozed further into the sand if she did. Every now and then she paused in her wanderings and bent down to pick up a particularly interesting shell or rock. Once in a while she was lucky enough to find a piece of sea glass to add to her collection.
It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, so there were not a lot of people out. Locals and their dogs were almost permanent fixtures, but the tourists were more likely to be in town wandering through the shops. Maria felt incredibly grateful that she was able to make this trip once a year. If not for the generosity of her friend Sinead it would not be possible. Sinead owned a house in this small coastal town, a house she planned on retiring to one day, and Sinead let Maria stay in the house when she came out to the coast.
She continued on down the beach kicking the water as she walked and getting lost in the sound of the waves. A white bump in the darker, damp sand ahead of her signaled a buried shell and she altered her wandering path to dig it up. It turned out to be a giant conch shell, unusual for this area. In a burst of whimsy, she held the shell up to her ear listening for the distant sound of the ocean.
As she listened and drifted away on the soothing sounds in the shell, she fancied she heard mermaids singing in the sighing of the ocean. Entranced, she gazed out at line where the sky met the ocean and simply listened. A small tug on her hand interrupted her musings.
“Mommy? Can we go home now? I’m tired,” a timid little voice said.
Maria looked down at her daughter and smiled.
“Of course, mija. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize we’d walked so long and so far.”
“You like the beach a lot, don’t you Mommy?” Lena said.
“Yes, mija, I do. I like it very much.”
“I do too, Mommy. I want to be a mermaid when I grow up.”
“That’s great, baby. I love that idea. Maybe tomorrow we’ll come back and find a mermaid for you to talk to about what it’s like.”
“Really? That would be fun! How do we find a mermaid?” Lena’s voice rose in excitement.
“I’m not sure, sweetie, but we can come back tomorrow and figure it out!” Maria laughed.
She bent down and swung the child up into her arms and headed back up the beach to the house. There were still three more days for walking on the beach. And, perhaps, finding a mermaid.