She Sells Sea Shells

March 21, 2012
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Caroline sat on the beach, her head resting on the palms of her hands. She took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air. A subtle breeze slipped across the ocean, creating evanescent waves on the previously still surface. The waves crashed down on the shore as sea gulls called to each other from the sky. It was her own, real life, sound machine.

Every summer, the Rayleighs traveled to a quiescent town called in California. It was not very urban, but that is why they liked it. There weren’t any tourists and the beaches weren’t busy, which made it that much more relaxing. This place was not novel to them, as they had traveled there before and scrutinized every corner of the town. It was a second home.

A conventional, yet noteworthy town was at its center. It contained many distinctive buildings, like the craft center filled with a great diversity of artisans, proficient in different skills. Although this place captivated tens of craftspeople from across the country, it did not catch Caroline’s attention. Every year when they went there, she would always visit the same quaint boutique, “She-Shells”. It was run by a eccentric woman named Sheila.

Caroline was nine now and was growing into a loquacious and verbose young girl. As she walked down the road towards She-Shells, she said hello to every person she passed by. She was jovial as she talked to the store owners and other people she remembered. But as she turned the corner, expecting to see Sheila on her rocking chair, nothing was there. It was obsolete. Caroline ran up to the door and knocked thinking, “She must be inside.” There was no answer.

“Hello,” she called into the dark room. Caroline continued to shout until Mr. Thompson, the owner of the market down the street, came to her.

“Hi, Caroline. I am afraid I have some bad news,” he said somberly. “Ms. Sheila passed away two months ago”

Tears were filling Caroline’s eyes. She sat down on the sidewalk, unbelieving of what had just been told to her. “But, how?” she asked.

“She has had lung cancer for years now. It was growing worse and worse and then...”

Caroline burst out crying. She wanted to scream, to punch, to yell. But all she could do was cry. She sat in solitude for hours, refusing to leave Ms. Sheila’s store. She remembered all of the good times they had inside of She-Shells. She remembers singing, “She sells sea shells by the sea shore,” over and over again until she got it right.

Ms. Sheila would always sing it differently. “She shells she shells by the sea shore,” she would sing.

“That’s not right!” Caroline criticized. “Its she sells sea shells.”

“I know that, Caroline. But you see, I sell sea shells, that is my job. Thats why this here is called She-Shells.” Caroline played this memory over and over again in her head.

She stood up and began walking down the street, singing “She shells she shells by the sea shore.”

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