It was our last voyage into the familiar shore, small tins and scoops tinkling in our hands and songs. The fiddler crabs had retreated into the setting sun. Broken shells were all we could find, between grey glistening stones and our shadows on the sand.
‘Do you think these shells moved onto their next lives?’ April asked, holding a semi-transparent one to the sky as if it was a magnifying glass which would give her a glimpse of heaven. She was in a white, spaghetti strap dress, the kind I always longed to have. She was eight; I was seven.
‘I don’t know what lived in these shells before,’ I said, ‘Maybe they found new lives.’
‘My brother smashed a snail once.’
‘Did you watch?’
‘No, I ran away screaming when the hammer dropped. He cleaned up the mess and told me the snail would reincarnate into something else. A different animal.’
I picked up my tin and missed the fiddler crabs we used to catch. April liked to shake them in the tin until they faded from the shock. I watched mine bob up and down in the water for a while, then let them go.
On our way home April made me promise to visit her in the years to come. I heard her family never moved away from the island.