Even though it was the middle of summer, the breeze held a chill in the noon-day sun. The sea was never particularly warm around her coastal town—most people stayed clear of the water for that specific reason. Aside from the far-off barks of dogs, Cora and Vivian were alone with the crashing waves and the distant caws of seagulls.
Close to shore, the waters were calm and gently lapped at the golden sand, but beyond the sandbar about fifty feet out, the waves roared. Cora would stand for hours on the narrow shoal, feeling the waves flow around her, threatening to carry her off but never following through. That was where she would let the little rafts holding her artwork go, watching them bob over the waves as if pulled by an invisible string out to sea. With every painting, she felt a piece of her spirit leave her, a piece of herself that she knew had never truly been her own. Would she ever be in good standing with the ocean? Would she ever be able to look at herself in the mirror and see a whole person, or would she always be like the shells she found hidden in the sand – empty and cracked?
Vivian laced her fingers between Cora’s and turned to look at her, placing a hand on her friend’s cheek. Cora knew what was coming, the same words that came each time they stepped onto the beach, every time Vivian watched from the tree line as Cora released an offering into the waves…
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