The Beach House
The woman rented a beach house. A week of no phones, no TV. The gulls cawed for the rising sun. The afternoon breeze tattered the shouts of her boy. At night, she laid a hand on the sun-warmed cheek of her sleeping child. The sound of his breathing folded into the crumbling surf, and here, she believed, might be the heartbeat of this earth. The house’s owner arrived every day after lunch and swept the porch. He cursed the salt, the humidity, the sand. He claimed all man’s creations were fated to rot, an omega poisoning every alpha.
Unable to sleep in her own bed, the woman nestled beside her son. Years later, after he’d grown into a man, the woman would remember the owner’s words. And she remembered her son’s colorful towel drying on the porch railing. And the cold sting of the garden hose they’d used to wash the sand from their feet.