I walked along a beach I used to know, rejected by both the wind and the water. One sought to tear my face off, slashing at me with pressured claws, while the other sought to drown me in a deluge of rain. But being the more docile of the two, my tainted skin the water dared not touch, so I walked through the downpour undisturbed, non-existent.
Mother Earth and her servants are not like us humans. Their memories last, engraved in the sift of the sand and the ache of the earth. They do not forget betrayal. What possessed me to come back to this town? This town that I had been chased from 15 years ago? The ghastly wind offered me no answers, for it wondered the same.
I returned to the corner where the beach met the mangroves, where the sand was thicker and not too grainy, the perfect texture for building sandcastles. I returned to the spot where, if you lay at a certain angle, you could find a little hole in the middle of the canopy, through which the stars always seemed to shine the brightest.
Was this some kind of joke?
After 15 years it was still there, a cross made of two twigs tied together with enough rubber bands to make a mother scream. It stood in the sand, bent at an angle, but still there. The waves didn’t reach that spot, but there was no reason for anyone to leave that ugly monument there.
Except to punish me.
My knees sank into the sand. If I had dug, would I have found some of those bones you always loved? Maybe I would have found yours, and mistook them for something else’s. Either way, I didn’t. Because I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to touch those grains you loved to play with so much, because I was afraid they would stain my fingers red with your blood. I was afraid I would touch them and find your soft fur and the weak, desperate throbbing of your heart as it grew quieter, and quieter…
Oh, Poppy. My dear, dear Poppy.