Short Story: Sea Glass Memories / by Sam Abelow

Gouache paint, acrylic paint and charcoal, on paper

Sea Glass Memories

I sat digging and looking at rocks, right at the shore, as the shallow waves rolled across and absorbed into the rich, fine sand. My mind was in a lyrical appreciation of the textures: warm, smooth stones splashed by cool water; solemn, intense sun, in the broad cloudless sky heated the sand beneath my bottom.

A lanky woman, in a black bikini, with dark hair and a long, narrow face and large, charming eyes, strolled from my right and stopped before me. I looked up at her; my legs were parted before me, my hands in the sand. I felt like a child; she had come across me in a moment of oddity — in play incongruent with my age.

The woman, who must’ve been about forty years old, stood with one leg straightened, the other bent and hand on hip. This stance seemed to tower above me. She was an endless column, pointing heavenward, of tanned calves and thighs; her hips like a mural of broken color; as her torso and shoulders, face and arms, cascaded off, in sharp perspective, like a steeple or obelisk seen from it’s immediate base.

“Are you looking for sea glass?” She asked calmly.

I paused in a daze. Implement conversational skills? — Human being. “Well, no I’m just sort of playing. But, my grandma used to collect sea glass. She had jars filled with it.”

“Oh is that right?” The lady said, as she turned to look at the horizon.

“Yah, I suppose she may have found it all! I don’t see any now.”

The lady chuckled, but her eyes remained serene. There was silence, except for the call of a distant seagull and the weak breaking waves.

“Enjoy the day,” she said, smiling widely, as if for a photograph.

And as she continued her stroll, I watched briefly, to contain the loveliness of her figure, of her hair dancing across her back and the dissipation of footprints she left in the sand, as the sheen of dispersing water fell across her trail.

I knew she was gone, someone I’d never know. But, she came to me at that moment and her image would remain lucidly within me. Still sitting in sand, right at the shore, the ocean water came billowing up my body and cooled me to the core.