the dream

We walked along the beach again as we have done a thousand, ten thousand times. The grey sky glowered. Sand scrunched between my toes. Cold waves pushed up and over our feet, all salt and foam. Wave succeeded wave like shaken-out bolts of silk. We wandered back to the car, teasing and jeering, lost in the parking lot.

“Where is Claire?” he said. I looked up, startled. And suddenly it wasn’t Alain, my childhood’s constant companion. It was Jeremy, and I had forgotten the girls, and I was racing back to the rough water’s edge and praying “Please please please…”

My distress woke me up. I lay, heart hammering, in my quiet room beside my sleeping husband. The sky over Noe Valley was blushing indigo and orange.

The girls, I knew, were safe in their own beds.

I have made myself a responsible adult because I love my daughters as I love sunrise and the sea.

But some small part of my soul is still twelve, with my brother, on a beach.

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