Sea Glass

June 17, 2010
Losing you was just like the first time that I spent the summer at the beach. I was eight years old, and we had just rented out a small beach house that was just a minute walk away from the shore. Being the first day of summer, I was anxious to finally be able to splash around in the cool, salty waves all day. My mom and dad were both tired from the long car ride we had to take to get here, but I was too full of that summer energy to rest like they wanted to. Since it was only a short walk to the beach, my parents figured it would be alright for me to go down there by myself, as long as I was home before dark. I was so excited over this tiny ounce of freedom, that I speedily changed into my bathing suit, slathered on some sunscreen, grabbed my favorite neon pink beach towel, and raced out the door before my parents had a chance to change their minds. I ran all the way to the beach, and, once I got there, I placed my towel down on the sand, and sped headlong into the waves.
The water felt so good against my skin, and I contently splashed around for hours. But I eventually got bored, and made my way back onto the dry sand. Searching for new ways to entertain myself, I started walking along the shore. Examining interesting colored shells, prodding at small hermit crabs burrowed beneath the sand, chasing squawking seagulls until they flew back up into the sky. All worked to keep me busy, until I noticed something poking up from under the sand. It looked smooth, and had a green tint to it. I got down on my hands and knees to inspect it. I grabbed the top and pulled it up out of the sand. As I brushed it off, I realized that I was holding a glass bottle in my hands. “What would a bottle be doing at the beach?” I thought to myself. I remember what mom and dad had said about how I should always help to keep the beach clean, so I looked around to see if there was a recycling bin anywhere nearby. Not seeing one, I started to walk closer to the water as I investigated this oddly misplaced object.
I liked the sleek feel of the glass, the oblong shape, the way the setting sun glinted off the bottle’s smooth surface. I walked up to the edge of the water, the waves barely skimming my toes. But, as I held the bottle up against my eye to see the sun’s warped image through it, I noticed that the sun, which was so full and bright earlier in the day, was now just a glowing sliver. It had almost completely disappeared behind the horizon. Memories of my parents telling me to be home before dark flooded into my head. I had forgotten all about my parents warnings! Suddenly, I heard a crash, and I realized that I had been so occupied with thoughts of getting home, that I had lost my grip on the bottle. It had slipped through my fingers and smashed onto a large rock that was nestled into the sand. I quickly bent down to try and collected the pieces. Most of them were on the sand, but there was one piece that had broken off and was now lying dangerously close to the water. The waves softly seeped closer and closer to that single shard, threatening to carry it away into the abyss. At first, I tried to lung for it, to catch it before it got washed away completely. But the fear of the glass’s sharp edge held me back. What if it was sharp enough to cut me? One piece of glass wasn’t worth saving if I might end up with a scar. So, I watched the waves slowly swallowed it, knowing that there was nothing that I could do to save it. Remembering the growing darkness, I gathered up my beach towel and trudged home.
The next day, I started thinking about what might have happened to that lost shard. I thought up many different theories of where it might have gone and who might have found it. My favorite was the thought that maybe mermaids had discovered it, and made it into a piece of jewelry. But I eventually forgot about the drowned piece of glass. I spent the rest of the summer much like how I had spent that very first day. It was two months of salt water and sun burns, and I loved every minute of it. It seemed to go by so fast that I didn’t even realize that the air started to get chilly. The days seemed to grow shorter, and it wasn’t long before my parents told me that it was time to pack our suitcases. School was right around the corner, so it was time to take the journey home.
On the day we were supposed to leave, I decided to take one last walk down to the beach before I had to trade in this world of fun and sun and return back to the homework-filled reality of third grade. I walked along the sand, my hands in my pockets, thinking about how much I’d miss the smell of the salt water, the feel of the sand in my toes, and the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore. As I reminisced, I noticed something in the sand that caught my eye. It was a small piece of green. As I bent down to pick it up, I realized that it was a piece of glass. I instantaneously remembered my first day here. The crash of the bottle as it hit the rock, the single shard of glass slipping into the ocean.
But this glass didn’t look like the broken glass back from the beginning of summer. The once-sharp edges were now smoothed down. The transparency of the glass was gone. I remembered bring able to see right through it, but now it was as if the surface had been frosted over. Being lost in the sea for so long had somehow changed it. What used to be a clear and sharp piece of glass now was a foggy, mysterious shape. I didn’t know if this was the same piece that I had lost almost two months ago, but it didn’t seem like it. But, as I remembered the rest of the broken pieces lying on the sand, I realized that it didn’t matter. Even if this was the same lost shard, it would never really be the same piece of glass that I let get away all those months ago. Even if I had all of the other pieces of the broken bottle with me right now, I would never be able to rebuild what it once was. This piece would never fit like it once did. I let the waves steal away this glass, and now it’s forever changed. I could never make it turn back into the shard that it used to be. It was my careless mistake that changed the glass and ruined the bottle. Thanks to me, it can never go back to the way it was before.
I still remember that summer, that beach, that bottle, and that one shard. And I remember when you used to be like that glass before you slipped away. We used to fit together, like pieces to a puzzle. We were so in synch, like we were in tuned to one another’s thoughts and feelings. But I somehow lost my grip on you, and before I knew it, you started to fall. I wanted to reach out and catch you, but I was too scared of getting hurt. So I let you fall. Before I knew it, you were gone. And, when I finally found you again, you had changed too much for things to be like they were before. We just didn’t fit together anymore. Before I knew it, you were sea glass.





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