Mae was very tired when she walked onto the beach. It was getting dusky and most persons had left. She sat on a large rock near to the water and closed her eyes. Her cell phone rang. She turned it off. Around her was quiet again and she was thankful. She had already told Jacque that he would never see her again. No one would. She didn’t want to talk to him. He had done enough.
She sat - lost in many things - but for the minute, thought. She had grown apart from her best friend; they never spoke any more. Her parents had ordered her to move out when they found out that she had given up law school so that she could be with Jacque. Her sister thought she was an idiot and refused to talk to her. And Jacque - he was cursed. Everything that was bad happened to him. She had always supported him, and he had kept his spirits up because of her faith in him. He gradually became bitter and when his kisses started leaving his residue in her mouth, she slowly began to lose her sweetness and optimism. As if on cue, when her spirits began to dwindle, unfortunate things started happening to her. The job she had been certain would tide them over went belly up. The company was bought out and she was made redundant. Jobs were hard to come by out here and she had finally become so unmotivated that she had stopped applying. He still hadn’t picked up a job either. And now she was pregnant. She used to believe in fighting. But now, she was just too tired and bruised. She was winded.
The waves coming in from the beach glowed, announcing that night had come. They had purity in the dark that proved false in the daytime when the water exposed its dirtiness.
But, the waves knew that she knew better so they showed themselves to her - sounding like subtle obscenities, sawing at the boulders on the shore. She sighed. It was time. She got up off the rock and took off her shoes. She started to feel the water on her feet. It was cool and inviting. She walked a little more into the water.
“Excuse me, miss. I can’t find my mother. Have you seen her?”
Mae turned around in fright. She’d thought she’d been alone.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“I can’t find my mother. It’s dark and I’m afraid.”
The little girl had been crying but was wiping her eyes with her handkerchief. Mae was still shocked and not able to move. The little girl began to walk towards her.
“What are you doing?” Mae whispered.
“I am giving you my handkerchief to wipe your eyes. You’re crying too.”
Mae took the patterned cloth from the little girl. They stood in the water, looking at each other.
“My name is Rose. What’s yours?”
“Mae, will you be my friend? I’m alone and I need someone to talk to.”
She had the type of directness that innocence often granted children.
“Take my hand, Mae. Let’s go and look for my mother.”
She led Mae away from the water. They went and sat under a tree that had a single light bulb attached to its branch. Mae looked down, surprised at how tightly she gripped the little girl’s hand.
“Were you going for a walk in the sea, Mae?”
“But you still have on your clothes. Why didn’t you wear a swim suit?”
“I don’t need one.”
“Can you swim?”
Rose put her arms around Mae and squeezed her gently. Mae had never enjoyed or needed a hug so much. They sat there embracing each other.
“Will you help me find my mother? I need my mother.”
“Ok Rose. I’ll help. Describe her to me. What was she wearing?”
“A red dress, just like yours.”