I have my ritual on this day. When I hear him leave, I shut the bedroom door, walk to the dresser, open the top drawer. I feel around for the red velvet bag that used to hold my beaded necklace. It’s not there. I panic. Fear washes over me. John must have taken it.
“You have to move on. Don’t keep those broken shells. They only make you upset.”
That sonofabitch. How could he. They’re all I have. I know he blames me. I yank the drawer and dump it on the bed, bras and underpants in a tangled pile.
There it us… under my panties. I clutch the bag like it’s a holy relic, pouring the shards in my hand, caressing them, hearing their familiar clacking. Fourteen precious pieces, cream and pink. I count them twice. I close my eyes.
The morning is warm and Hawaiian perfect, a cloudless cobalt sky. John is at his meeting, and I’m on a lounge chair in my floppy sunhat lazily watching the gentle waves break. Billy is running back and forth collecting broken shells in his yellow bucket. He doesn’t mind they’re not perfect.
“Careful honey,” I call. “Don’t get too near the waves.”
A rogue wave, they called it, crashes in and pulls Billy. A man dives in but Billy is gone, swept away. I am in my own bad dream, but can’t wake up. I hear disembodied screams.They are coming from me.