So here is a very short bit from Glass Flowers, a story that I probably will not get around to writing again for … well … a few months. I have a ton of things waiting in line to be written. Plus I need to finish editing Walking Shadow (again) because now three agents are waiting to read the 100,000-word version of it. Just 33,000 more words to cut. O_O Well anyway, here's Glass Flowers!
My father once told me that the sea always gives back what it takes. I remember how I used to run along the shoreline, bringing back treasures from the journey and dropping them into his hands. He would run his rough fingertips over the sea-smoothed stones and one time he told me, “You know, some of these rocks might have traveled across entire oceans to get here.”
I stared, disbelieving, at the white stone that sat like a tiny moon in the palm of his hand. “How?”
“Well, there's no telling exactly how it got here. Maybe one day, a long time ago, on some island far away, there was a little girl like you who threw this rock into the ocean. And the motion of the water tossed it around, carried it across the ocean floor all the way here, to where we are.”
I looked out across the tossing waves, squinting as I tried to find this imaginary island my father spoke of.
“The sea always gives back what it takes,” he said. “Maybe it takes hundreds or thousands of years, but sooner or later, each little stone finds its way back to shore.”
The words were forever imprinted on my mind. From then on, whenever I picked up the ocean's gifts from the sand, they felt heavier, as if I held the weight of the whole soft, glowing world in my hand. I imagined each round stone making its treacherous journey, tumbling over the ocean floor––then finally, at the end of a hundred years, finding a place to rest in the sand. The thought always made hope bloom inside my chest, like a flower opening and tasting sunshine for the first time.
The sea always gives back what it takes, I would tell myself.
But the sea never gave back my mother.