It was approximately 8:30 when I stepped on the warm sand. The sun had just started to peek over the palm trees and the wind starting to pick up. The kitchen was stifling and the view of the ocean was pulling me more and more until I couldn’t resist. I was lucky to snag this beach house. The owner was all too happy to get rid of it and, lucky for her, I was willing to buy a house in this economy. I packed all my belongings and moved the next week into a two story four bed three bath beach front house. It was a perfect get away from the past that I despised. The divorce was finalized and I’m free. I am free.
The breath of fresh air was invigorating. The sun on my face, the sand beneath my feet and the cold wind blowing my hair across my face was more than I could imagine. Leaving Hector was the best thing I could’ve done for myself, aside from buying this beach house.
Hector was my husband of three years. I loved him all of 2 years. I met him at the grocery store. He wanted the last single serving of meatloaf and graciously, I let him have it. I found out later that he didn’t like meatloaf; he didn’t like much of what I liked. He wanted to have children, I didn’t. He wanted me to be catholic, I didn’t. He wanted me to stay at home, and be a good wife. I didn’t. I had my bachelor’s and I wanted to use it, instead of wasting the time, money, and the knowledge. He was three years older and he was the only child. He was used to getting his way.
I chuckled to myself, “What did I ever see in him?”
I walked down to the cold water, my toes curling on instinct. The sand and the water sucked me deeper into the earth, pulling me closer to her core, making me one with the earth as I did so long ago. I felt the familiar peace wash over me as I let the serenity engulf me. This is what I missed the most when I lived in the stifling city, cars, pollution, angry people, and bad take-out food.
This is perfect, more perfect than I could ever imagine.
I walked parallel to the crashing waves. I need to learn how to surf. First, I need the equipment then maybe learn how to swim; maybe I need a wet suit before anything else. A carefree laugh escaped my lips and without care I let it out. I let my laughter carry behind me as I threw my head back allowing my lungs to fill with the salty and cold air. I loved the beach. I love the scorching heat that comes along with it. Even when I was a little girl, traveling the world with my parents, I always wanted to visit the beach, any beach. And now facing the brilliant blue, sky and sea, everything is perfect.
The happiness was fleeing as something black caught my eye. A couple feet to my right I spotted something black, something odd against the sand, a black seashell.
Hectors face blurred my own as I reached down and picked up the single shell laying on the disgustingly on the beautiful ground. Everything came back to me.
He picked up a black sea shell and smiled to me as I smiled back. He wiped off the excess sand and held it up for me to see.
“It’s a black sea shell. These sea shells are made on the rarest occasion. It’s when a male finds a female and they forfeit their lives in order to make new ones.”
“They die for one another?” I asked astonished and awestruck.
“It doesn’t happen often. True love doesn’t happen often. This shell is rare. It’s one of a kind, just like you.” He threw me a glorious smile that made my 20 year old heart melt. He proposed to me that night and like a fool, I said yes.
The anger from that memory made my hand ball into a tight fist, clutching the lying shell in my hand. The indent would’ve made me bleed if I held it hard enough. I spun around and threw it in the opposite direction.
“Careful.” A man’s voice spoke behind me.
To my surprise I saw someone standing behind me. The anger I felt vanished instantly staring at this man. He looked as weary as I felt. I felt the anger and the shame, the sorrow and the guilt all at once. I cleared my throat and cleared my mind, something I did all the time and had too much practice with.
“I’m sorry.” I said, finding the black shell on the ground and wishing I hadn’t found it. Most of all I wished I hadn’t hurled it at him.
“Everything alright?” He asked concerned at the look I was giving the inanimate object.
I nodded my head, but something in happened that I didn’t expect.
“Someone told me that black sea shells were rare. He said that they were one of a kind.” I replied, glaring at the offending shell. “It’s nonsense really, the man and the story. I was having a good morning and now…” I ended lamely, throwing my arms up uselessly.
“I know I saw.” He said picking up the black shell. “I just stepped out when you did. You live in the green house right?”
“Yes,” I said. “I just moved in. I needed some fresh air and distance from the city.”
“There’s nothing fresher than salt water breeze rolling from the beach. There’s nothing wrong with miles and miles of sand and sea.”
They chuckled at his joke. He extended a toned arm. “I’m Sam and I’m here during the off seasons in the gray house.” He said pointing to a whitewashed house in need of a new paint job, a gardener, a construction worker, basically everything needed fixing.
I smiled at his broken down house and looked to mine. It looked just as raggedy. I wonder how much the previous owner lived in that house without cleaning the outside. “I’m Liz from the green house and I plan to live here on and off season.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, and I’ll have to convince you about living here on the on season.” His hands were fidgeting with the black sea shell. “Do you know how black shells are made?”
I shook my head watching his open face and reading a friendly smile.
“These shells are been buried in the anoxic sediments where they turn black by the interaction with sulfuric hydride. Storms uncover them and the waves bring them to the shore.” He said absolutely.
Something in his manner made me believe him. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t seen a man as handsome as him, or that he said something intelligent without trying to make a move on me, or that he looked in my eyes with a serious face.
“Are you a deep sea scientist?”
“I’m not a scientist. But you know; it’s surprising what you can learn if you open a book.” He answered sarcastically.
“Really!” I replied jokingly. “You can read? I’m surprised you can walk out the door with your head that big.”
I turned away and started back to my green house. I looked ahead and saw his gray house one house away from my own. I turned back and to my surprise he was following me, or walking back to his gray house. I slowed down so he could catch up to me, he did.
“So Liz, do you have a last name?”