Strange Beachcomber


by Rachel Jamerson

With my coffee in hand, I settled back into my favorite chair on the deck and prepared to enjoy my early morning read. The ocean was unusually calm today, just a few white caps gently lapping the shoreline. I could never get over the beauty of that huge body of turquoise water stretching out into infinity. Above the soft blue sky was dotted with small puffs of white floating leisurely across the horizon. I loved the beach. Here I could relax and enjoy the beauty of nature without the annoying interruptions of everyday life.

I was about to open my book when a movement in the corner of my eye captured my attention. It was a young girl, perhaps ten or so, she sat cross-legged at the edge of the water. Her long dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail but small wisps fluttered around her face. She seemed very intent on what she held in her hand. A few moments later she reached for her small sand bucket and dropped her item inside. I surmised it must be a shell. Rising to her feet I could see she was quite striking. Her limbs were long and tanned from the summer sun, her body lean and lank. Suddenly her face broke into a huge smile and she started running toward an approaching figure. “Grammy, Grammy, look what I found, tell me what this one says.”

The figure was an elderly woman who walked very slowly. Her body was bent and she wore a turban on her head. The turban held my attention. I had seen a lot in my time usually, they were an indication the individual had undergone chemotherapy and lost their hair. This one, however, was a brilliant blue with a blood red stripe that ran from the front, across the top and down to the nape of her neck in back. It seemed unusual for an older woman to wear such an elaborate head covering. The two sat down on the sand and peered into the small bucket. For a while, they chattered back and forth while looking at the contents. It appeared to be sea shells so I soon forgot about them and lost myself in my latest novel. There was no sign of the two later when I left my fantasy world and returned to the kitchen to make breakfast.

For several weeks I witnessed the same routine each morning as the old woman, always in her bright turban and the little girl walked the beach gathering shells. Soon I just ignored them and enjoyed my peace and quiet. One morning about a month later, I was surprised to see the girl on the beach without her Grammy. I didn’t think much about it then but after several days I began to wonder if something had happened to the Grandmother. One morning I ventured down to the beach hoping to get a chance to talk to the girl. Soon I saw her making her way along the shore looking for shells.

“Good morning,” I called to her, “how are you doing?”

“Okay,” came the polite return.

“Is your grandmother not well?” I asked
cautiously. She stopped and looked longingly down the beach.

“Grammy is gone to heaven,” she replied.

“Oh I am so sorry,” I said. “Is there anything you need?”

“I’m alright,” she responded.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Gathering shells,” she replied.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “Grammy told me the shells had messages from heaven.”

“I see,” I answered, “and did you find any?”

“Oh yes,” she replied, her eyes lighting up.
“Grammy and I looked for them every day and she would help me read what they said.”

“Did you find any today,” I asked?

“No,” she replied. “I haven’t found any since Grammy left.”

I watched as the girl continued down the beach. Feeling sad I turned and started back to the house. I had barely reached the porch when I heard the little girl yelling. She was running toward me with something in her hand.

“Look, Look!” she screamed so excited she could hardly speak.

“What is it?” I asked.

“A message from Grammy,” she held out her hand to reveal a common seashell.

As she turned it over, I stood there staring. The inside was a brilliant blue and running from the top to the bottom was a blood red line!

I am a seventy year old widow with three girls and eight grandchildren. I have been writing over thirty years. There is always a story behind the story.

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