Seven Tears into the Sea
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Beckon the sea,
I'll come to thee....
Shed seven tears,
perchance seven years....
At the age of ten, Gwen Cooke had a strange encounter with a boy with dark, slightly tilted eyes. He came to her on the beach, whispered strange words in her ear, and then disappeared. Shortly thereafter, her family moved away from their seaside home and Gwen never saw the boy again.
Now seventeen, Gwen is returning to her childhood home. Her nana asked her to come. But Gwen knows it's time to go back for another reason: She yearns for the sea. Perhaps the sea itself is calling to her. Perhaps the memory of the boy and his haunting words are drawing her back to the place they met. Perhaps it's time for her to face her destiny.
over the dishes. From the living room came the sound of the grandfather clock’s pendulum, swinging. Nana lifted her hand and made a brushing movement. Was she banishing a cloud that hovered between her and the message in the mirror? Outside, the waves rushed, broke, and sighed. “Rerun!” Nana snapped, and struck the tabletop with both palms. “Pardon me?” Thelma turned from the sink, hands dripping soapsuds. She looked as surprised by the word as I felt. Dread settled at the nape of my neck as
percent off.” We both laughed, and I felt a closeness with Nana that I hadn’t felt with anyone for a long time. I couldn’t think how to say it, so I just started back toward the kitchen. Nana touched my arm. “Leave those dishes for Thelma. I have a different chore for you. It’ll only take me a minute to grab my notebook from upstairs.” Holding a handful of skirt in one hand, gripping the banister with the other, Nana started upstairs. It would take her more than a minute to return, I thought,
more nimbly than my bruised ankle. And of course she noticed and insisted I take two aspirin with water. She forced a baggie full of more aspirin on me too. “Have yourself a nice cup of tea and a lie down,” she urged as I started back to Cook’s Cottage. “Thelma and I are taking the rest of the day off, and so should you.” I wasn’t the napping type, but I could already feel my eyelids drooping. “But if other guests show up—” “We’ll fetch you,” Thelma said. “Have no worry about that.” “Come
through the beach grass, I picked up driftwood. I snagged a few knots of sun-dried seaweed for kindling too, and breathed the salt wind which had probably blown it up here. Down from the dunes, but before the bare shore, I saw sandpipers skipping flat-footed across the beach, stopping to root out dinner. “Save some for me,” I told them, then I knelt, built a foot-high tepee of driftwood over the dried seaweed, and set it alight. The sandpipers were probably eating little sand crabs, not clams,
tell you about my mom? She was taking drinks—” “Apple cider,” Nana clarified. “—up to guests watching migrating whales from the widow’s walk.” “That little balcony thing on top of the house,” I explained when Mandi frowned in confusion. Again. “Sea captains’ wives used to go up to keep watch for their husbands’ ships.” “Of course,” Jill said, nodding. Then with a perfectly straight face, she turned to Mandi and added, “I think there was one in The Little Mermaid.” “Really?” Mandi asked, but