“Mommy, shells!” the girl called with elation, bringing them forth for viewing.
“Those are pretty.”
“I want to take them home.”
The girl’s older brother moped several paces behind, still upset that they took lunch at some seaside crab joint instead of McDonald’s. Just because of Mom’s childhood memories of the place.
The father lagged still further behind, upset that the son didn’t even touch his lunch, just picked at bread. Upset at his wife, who refused the doggy bag. “Where will we put it? It’ll just stink up the car.”
The son threw stones, aiming for innocent seagulls.
“These shells are broken,” the mother told her daughter. “Let’s look around and find whole ones.”
“But I like these.”
“You’ll like the others too. Start looking.” She tossed the broken ones into the sand and the daughter all but dove for them.
“Just let her keep the broken shells,” the father interjected.
“But they’re not pretty. I want her to have nice keepsakes.”
“She’ll put them in a drawer and they’ll get broken anyhow.”
“No, I’ll put them in a shadowbox or something. You saw the ones I have from when I was a girl.”
A gull squawked and lifted angrily after suffering a direct hit.
“I guess I just thought you bought those, or they were gift.”
“No. Those are mine.”