Not another soul on the beach.
I pull off my shoes. The sand feels cool on my feet, and a light breeze gentles my face. It’s fine sand here, soft and Army blanket gray, dark where the water laps at it in big scalloped sections. Clumps of seaweed, rocks, shells and sticks decorate the beach. I fight against the memory of our honeymoon on another beach far away. Tom and I played in the water, collected shells and lay together on a Mexican blanket, touching each other’s faces, amazed to have found each other. Do you know what that feels like, just to feel so blessed to love someone who loves you back?
No crying, no more crying. Deep breath. I dash away the tears and keep walking. Keep moving has become my mantra lately. Keep the body fit and busy, and the mind will follow. Somewhere up ahead is Seal Rock. Maybe a mile or so? Do I want to go that far? My stomach gurgles in answer. I need breakfast.
That’s what I’m thinking when I see something sticking out of the sand. It glitters and I squat down to look. I scarcely breathe as I pull out a tiny bracelet. I’m pretty sure the writing on it is Japanese. The bracelet is silver, with pink hearts around the words. Is it from the tsunami? I can’t imagine something coming this far to land on a beach in Oregon.
Clearly it belongs to a little girl. What happened to her? Did she die in the tsunami? Did the bracelet come off in the water? Or was this washed out of her bedroom while she fled with her family to higher ground?
If she’s alive, is there some way I can get it back to her?
Of course, she could have come here from Portland with her family on vacation, but what if the tsunami really did carry it all the way from Japan?
I’m still squatting and not paying any attention to the ocean when a sneaker wave breaks from the pack and knocks me down. Cold! The current pulls at me as I scurry on my hands and knees to dry sand. If it were just a little bigger, that wave could have taken me out to sea. Just like those people in Japan. Time to turn back.
I’m soaked right through my pants, underwear, shoes and socks. Suddenly it seems like an awful long way to the car.
I reach the footbridge just as the ranger is pulling a big garbage can off the beach. Cissy would be too embarrassed by her wet clothes to say anything, but P.D. doesn’t have time for that.
“Hey, is that from Japan?” I call.
He laughs and shakes his head. He’s cute, all sandy-haired and freckled. Reminds me of my brother, if he were a little older. “Nope, it’s all-American.”
I catch up with him and hold out the bracelet. “I think this is from Japan.”
“Oh?” He takes it from me, studies it. “Huh. I think you’re right.”
“What should I do with it?”
“Well, we’ve got some people working on things like this, trying to get items of monetary or sentimental value back to their owners. I don’t know how they’ll find them. Maybe the writing on here would give them a clue. I can turn it in for you.”
“Good. Thanks. Can you maybe let me know what happens to it?”
“Yeah, sure.” He pulls a notepad out of his breast pocket. “What’s your name and number?”
I tell him, wishing I already had those business cards. Monday, they said.
“P.D.? What does that stand for?”
I smile. “Just P.D.”
Excerpt from Up Beaver Creek
Introducing Up Beaver Creek
Earthquake, tsunami, a crazy landlord with a garden full of glass flowers, a tree falling through her roof, karaoke and kayaking—what has the singer currently known as P.D. gotten herself into? It’s bad enough that her husband left her a widow at 42, but when she heads west to remake her life, she can’t imagine what’s about to happen.
In the novel Up Beaver Creek, P.D. is running away from the sorrows she left behind in Missoula, Montana. As she tries to reconcile who she was with who she is now, she lands in a small town on the Oregon coast. She meets the crazy artist Donovan J. Green, Janey the curly-haired soprano, her taxi-driving brother Jonas, kayak-loving Ranger Dave, the lesbians PD calls the “Rainbow Ladies” and other locals who become her new family. Along the way, we get a lot of music and Oregon coast reality, including sideways rain and tsunami wreckage from Japan washing up on the beach. Then the earthquake hits.
Click here to order copies of Up Beaver Creek in paperbook or e-book format or ask your local bookstore to order it via Ingram distributors.
About the author:
I spent many years in the newspaper business before earning my MFA in creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles and focusing my attention on fiction, poetry and essays. My books include Stories Grandma Never Told, The Iberian Americans, Azorean Dreams, Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand and Childless by Marriage. Click here for more information.
My work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals and web publications. I also blog at Childless by Marriage and Unleashed in Oregon.
Want to read more? Contact me at email@example.com.