I had pushed away the memories of saving him (or almost not saving him), and it had gone back to being my favorite beach. I collected piles of shells, I followed seagull tracks, I gazed lazily at passing clouds. It was, in short, perfect.
I was sitting in a beach chair, my head buried in a book and my toes dug in the sand, when I heard my daughter's shrill 11 year old voice. A wave! she shouted. I looked up and saw it -- the wave. It engulfed the beach -- the whole beach -- suddenly. And then just as quickly, it was gone. It took with it our two ipods, my sandals, my daughter's skirt, our picnic. The wave washed the beach smooth, leaving no traces. No, no! cried my son. No! His many megabites of music, gone just like that. My daughter sobbed, distraught. I held her then, thinking of those who many miles away and several years before had seen a wave and lost everything -- including their homes and the people they loved.
My husband's camera, now a cadaver, winked at me far down the beach.
That night, I proposed dessert and a second bottle of wine. I then tucked my daughter into bed -- her hair fanned out on the pillow beneath her.