The Souvenir

He finally was able to pull her away from the ocean she loved, so they could explore the sandy town they were currently vacationing in.  She threw on the only nice outfit she brought with her and was able to put on a little eye catching make up, despite the fact that he always told her she looked good without trying.

They strolled along the salt eaten sidewalk  with the noticeable sting of summer on their checks. Just as always, they laughed and enjoyed their time together, soaking up the simplicity of their visit. Finally they made their way to the little town they passed on the way in. A warped wooden sign, decorated with a shiny, plastic swordfish, a few coral colored star fish, and some old trusty netting in the upper corner, hung proudly above the door. They walked in with their fingers intertwined in another, only to find wall to wall nautical riches. With widened eyes they explored every little trinket and dried sea creature, making sure they didn’t miss even a grain of sand.

She knew she had to discover the perfect treasure to always act as a symbol of this wonderful trip they took together, and he knew she wouldn’t stop until she found it. She stumbled upon starfish of all shapes and sizes, nautical stuffed animals, surf and boogie boards, and even the cutest ankle brackets she had to have that were embellished with beads and shells. Like every tourist infested shop it was filled with the usual tacky t-shirt you knew you would never wear, the bumper sticker with a witty saying, and even the real shark teeth that would cut you to the touch, but she still couldn’t find exactly what she had been searching for. She was happy with the dozen one dollar ankle bracelets she obtained, but she just couldn’t come across the keepsake she knew she needed. He sensed her discouragement, he was always good at that, so he led her to an area of the store that had been less examined by the years and years of out of town eyes. There in the dusty corner of the store lied a small hand woven wicker basket full of the tiniest, cutest little glass bottles that were filled with all kinds of oceanic treasures. They were accompanied with a small cork, holding all of its riches inside and a sterling silver, diamond-cut chain.

She prodded through everyone of them, making sure she found the most perfect one.  The very last one she got her hands on was filled with snow-white sand from the shore, a tiny aqua blue starfish, and  even tinier sea shells. The  trinkets inside this glass chamber that caught her eye the most though, were the small rose colored pearl,a minuscule dried sand-dollar, and what she thought was the smallest anchor she had ever seen. She knew this was what she had been searching for. With great pride she pranced to the well used counter to purchase her treasures. He knew by the smile stretched across her cheeks that she was content with her findings. When the total came he laid down a wad of sand dusted dollars and made that smile on her face stretch just a bit further. They chatted on the way back taking in the scenery and the whole way she clung to that souvenir,that was wrapped around her neck, in hopes that she could stop time and forever stay in that perfect moment.


The Sky Painter.

I have the most wonderful career in all the world, a Sky Painter. More importantly, I have fulfilled my mother’s dream.

          I let my fingers slip under the special-made, woven fabric flap that held in my tool. The beautiful handcrafted paintbrush slid into my hand, perfectly fitting in my grasp. I noticed that my initials are engrained in the richly stained wood. With the very tip of my finger, running along the top, I felt the soft, yet sturdy bristles bend and quickly snap back into place. I was only told to create a masterpiece that would take their breath away. I searched below me, through the recently fluffed clouds, to see my mother, alongside my siblings, my loving boyfriend and other friends and family, crying over my loss.

         Before ascending to the sky, I was allowed to stay with them for a moment longer. I stood among them but not with them. I was an invisible bystander placing my hand on my loved ones shoulders, quietly whispering in their ears, that I was in a much better place now. Before God beckoned to me, I placed myself in front of my grieving mother to gaze into her reddened hazel eyes. I wrapped myself around her and I could feel her give into me, knowing I was there. Pulling away from her I watched as her eyes shot up from the decorated casket, searching for me. I wiped a single tear from her flushed cheeks, holding her face one last time before letting the beam of light pull me away.

        God knew that even though I was taken from Earth to be with him, I was not done dreaming. He had said he kept this job special for me. With a broad smile he asked for me to hand him back the paintbrush. Gingerly, I handed it back to him, not wanting to let go of my new treasure. He ran his callused fingers softly down the handle making it glow. Just below my initials were freshly burnt words that read, “The Sky Painter.” I proudly accepted my new tool back, figuratively signing the career contract God had laid before me.  With my eyebrow raised and confusion showing in my expressions he told me, “let your vivid imagination, I have given to you be the paint and let the brush do the work.”  I let a smile come across my face, giving him the inclination that I knew exactly what he had meant.

        Sitting upon a small cloud I waited for the right moment to catch the attention of all that survived me down below. With a wisp through my hair I turned to see God motion me forward, instructing me to begin. Kicking my feet as the cloud moved with the breeze, I touched my tool to the sky in front of me, making it dance beneath my bristles. The clouds puffed and swirled around me, tickling my face.  I knew I had to let my mother know I have assumed the position she had always talked about. I sculpted clouds that jet puffed across the sky, I let little holes pop up here and there to allow beams of light from the sun warm my mother’s face, and I let all the colors from my imagination stream into my paintbrush. I placed the sun above the horizon, allowing it to change the blue skies to crimson, peach, magenta, and violet hues, perfectly blending into one another.

My body laid to rest on the crest of a hill that over looked the salt kissed eastern coast, so I let the sun meet the waves as if they were fused together. I made the direct sunlight call to my mother bringing her to the beach to view my artwork.  With a few more tweaks and broad brush strokes I was finished with my mother’s painting. With a quick flight I was by her side sitting in the sand with my head on her slumped shoulder. She brought her hand to my face knowing  I was there and knowing that I had created this sunset with her in mind. I stayed with her until God called for me. With my lips pressed to her forehead, I held on for one more second as she brought her hand up reaching for me.  My wings began to take flight and I squeezed her weakened hand one last time. The sand sprinkled from my toes as I made my way to the clouds. I took my place by God to admire my work, sitting right next to him. We let our feet dangle over the edge of the cloud, blissfully enjoying the sight as midnight began to take over my masterpiece.