LATECOMBER by Chelsea Biondolillo

She sure is wailing; shrill as a gull over the surf.

This little girl, maybe six, just fell on the sidewalk and skinned the holy hell outta her knees. The little caps—I can see them from here—are slicked bright red.

She was running like crazy up the wooden steps from the beach after her grandpa had hollered at her. Her grandma was taking pictures from the railing. You can see the humped black rocks, majestic with that poetic looking surf around them just fine from up here, so most folks never even go down the stairs. They snap one, two, three shots and pile back into their cars and head south for the Trees of Mystery or something.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not staring: I come to watch the waves. The girl was just in my line of sight, poking around the tide pools. She gathered pieces of shells, sea-smoothed wood, pebbles. All the good stuff got snatched by beachcombers at sunup, but she didn’t seem to care: picked up the shards just like they were whole. It was them shells caused her so much agony. She caught her toe at the landing, and didn’t want to let any of her handfuls go. She had to drop hard on her knees to catch herself. Even now, while her grandma fixes her up, I can see her little fists, closed tight around them. She’s looking over that railing, like she’d go back down and do it again.


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Filed under Chelsea Biondolillo

8 responses to “LATECOMBER by Chelsea Biondolillo

  1. Great snapshot into this very real moment, Chelsea. I love the movement and that instant where it all stops with a crash.

  2. great little slice of life!

  3. I like it that most people don’t even bother to go down the stairs. That says so much. Great snapshot that tells more than it shows.


  4. Leah

    This reminds me of Kawabata’s “Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket.” An older narrator observing the joys of children. Beautiful!

  5. This piece really sings, Chelsea, with your signature details and taut emotional lyrical revelries. Nicely done!

  6. Pingback: Week #45 – Broken shells | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  7. Thanks all, I appreciate the feedback!

  8. love the voice in this…perfectly pitched to capture the disconnect between adult and child world views…what is valued in our youthful innocence and that detail of stubbing the toe a perfect image. And this line, my favorite,”I can see her little fists, closed tight around them.”

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