I found my old blue jeans at the bottom of the trunk while packing. I was almost done.
I could still smell the sea on it and the pockets still had sand in them. I remembered why I had kept it away, untouchable…they brought back memories that crashed through me. Memories that I had chosen to suppress. Memories that were just that, long gone, eager to be forgotten, to fade into the mist that some memories eventually blend into, but unfortunately remain to haunt us forever. My hands clutched the fabric, and my eyes grew vacant.
The sun was shining and happiness ruled the air. She kept dancing and prancing around, her little feet eager to explore new territories. Our feet sank into the beach sand, and she pulled at my hand, her feet carrying her forward in excitement.
She made friends easily. Her feet were slowly drawn to the water. They stayed in the shallow waters, collecting shells and throwing water on each other. ‘An Image of perfect happiness’, I remember thinking, and settled down in joyful contentment. They waded a little deeper. A word of caution was told. They stayed their progress. There were sand castles around the mat I was sitting on. She said it was the fortress for her mummy who was the Queen, and she the little princess who would protect it.
The seagulls screeched high in the air, sunshine was abundant and the air untroubled.
It was unexpected, the locals later told us. The enormous wave came without forewarning. The sandcastles were now under 3 feet of water, my mat was gone and my eyes were frantic as I screamed for Katy. I saw her getting carried away and then disappear as my legs fought to stand up and swim after her. The locals jumped in too, they told me. I swam after where I had last seen her. Not there.
No…she’s just five. No..Another wave.
I dived in, straining to keep my eyes open against the salty water and the tears, then I came out gasping for air. I dived in again. Nothing. I came up again and looked. There, I could see her dark locks, and I swam. Hands reached out for the limp body, as I screamed for her to open her eyes. Someone carried us and helped us out.
They said the EMT’s tried their best to revive her and two others. They were sorry; they said that those little feet will never move again.
I quickly put the jeans back inside, as silent tears rolled down my cheeks. The dust mites glistened in the sunlight pouring through the window. I closed the trunk and the vial of memories. Screaming silence remained.
I picked up the luggage and locked the door to it all. And then, I chose to walk away for a new life.