Sand Like Pearls by Randal Houle

If I could only capture each grain of sand as it sluices down the hourglass, I would place each grain in an oyster, and cultivate every moment into a pearl of memory. Divorce forces my jealousies of time and my greedy hands grasp handfuls. The moments slip away – mixed now with all the other sand, ever-present but indistinguishable.

The sky grays the world around me, the way every day without them melds into the next. Beyond a thick tangle of thorny brush, the highway beckons. I could have selected a more secluded by-way, but the time to travel would’ve been stolen from my children and I promised we’d go camping this weekend. Gray grass, a worn down trapezoidal picnic table made of untreated lumber, and a gray flame consuming a pyramid of tinder in a concrete fire pit completes our campsite.

One of the children laughs. Orange sparks erupt where I feed the fire another log. The second child giggles through half chewed sandwiches of graham, chocolate, and marshmallow. The fire pit glows and radiates us in full color even as the rest of the gray world fades to squid-ink night.

There is a flash and a crack in the night sky. The children shudder and shriek and laugh and I escort them to the tent where we envelope ourselves in sleeping bags. At each booming bolt, the children inch closer, one on each side. They sleep easily. I could too, but I don’t want to miss a moment.


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Filed under Randal Houle

10 responses to “Sand Like Pearls by Randal Houle

  1. There are so many series of threes here, so skillfully woven into the tapestry of a beautiful story. Nice one, Randal.

  2. What a sweet lament! I can feel the sadness of the narrator, but he doesn’t ruin the moment for his kids. That’s a well-written hero.

  3. len kuntz

    great title and love the colors and sounds you packed in.

  4. Michelle

    Randal – this is gorgeous on so many levels. The story, the language, the setting. Such strong emotion, so clearly told.

  5. John Riley

    This captures the pain of divorce so well. Clinging to time. Well done.

  6. claireking9

    Beautiful painful sentiment captured well. A poignant piece…

  7. love the title and the dense sequence of events that follows between that great first and that great last sentence. enjoyed.

  8. You create lots of marvelous inner tension right from the title to the very last word. Thoroughly enjoyed this!

  9. Pingback: Week #52 – Threesome | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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