by JMH Flood
It wasn’t unusual for the tide to come in and leave pools of water all over the yard. In
fact, that happened most nights. But, on this full moon night, the tide was edging closer and closer to the house itself. Soon, the flower beds that separated the yard from the
house would be standing in the sea.
She began to move things from the lower floors into the higher areas, but there wasn’t time to move it all. She had to determine which items held the highest value to her and move them first. The current books she was reading, those went into the bag that she would carry out with her. The largest furniture pieces would have to stay.
Her hope was that everything would be okay the next day when the tide went out and she came back to check. She could fix it if the damage wasn’t too bad, but this tide was rising quickly and higher than she could remember it ever doing. She worried everything would be dragged out to sea and lost forever.
Grabbing the last bits of things, she shoved them into her bag and headed for higher ground. She glanced over her shoulder just in time to see a wave, larger than all the previous ones, overtake her house. As the wave withdrew back to the sea, she saw the destruction it left behind. It had taken out the entire top floors and in the lower level, it left only the heaviest furniture. Now, there was no visible boundary between the house, flower beds, and yard. It was all one big, wet mess. Surpassing itself, the sea came in again, with an even larger wave.
It was all too sad. She had to look away. She would have to return once the tide was lower and see what remained. That last wave was large enough to pull even the heaviest furniture out to sea. She couldn’t imagine there being anything left. This would be a complete rebuild, with finding new furniture, decorations, planting new flower beds, all new, everything from scratch.
Her heart was breaking. So much work had gone into building this house. She labored over each piece of furniture, making sure it was exactly the right shade, size, and shape for each and every area of the house. She found only the prettiest flowers and strategically placed them about. Even the yard itself had been a labor of love, with how it stretched out towards the sea, but not touched it. Sculptures and topiary decorated it. It was truly a lovely beach house.
Her mother took her hand into hers and gently said, “I know you worked so hard on that house and it’s sad to see it go. But tomorrow is a new day on the beach and you can build another.” Peeking into her beach bag, her mother continued, “I see you’ve saved your favorite rocks and seashells for the furniture. And we’ll stop by the store for a new bouquet of flowers. I promise we’ll work together to make the best sand house you’ve ever seen!”
“We’ll dare the sea to take another!” Cindy shook her fist at the sea and shouted,” I DARE you to take another!”
As they started up the path to their house on stilts, Cindy looked up at her mother and gave a little sad smile. “I did love this house, but also, I will love building a new one with you tomorrow.”
She really did enjoy building the houses and it would almost be a disappointment to come back the next day and find she did not need to build yet another. But that had not yet happened.
Down at shore, the sea crashed on, wave after wave, daring them to try again, to build again, as it continued to pull away, leaving pools of water where the yard had been.
JMH Flood is a parent of many humans, whose entirety of life’s energy and mental capacity is spent ensuring they will become functional members of society, which has led to a pure decadence of selfcare called: writing.