Sneakers in Sand

By Dina Relles

February 29, 2016

Sneakers in Sand
The baby’s shoes were nowhere.

That morning was spent in the chaotic swirl of cleaning and packing the vacation house. Countertops lined with coffee cups, milky-bottomed cereal bowls, last laundry loads, shouts up the staircase, don’t forget the shampoo in the shower! It was New Year’s Eve. We had a flight to catch.

As my fingers ran along the felt floor of the rental car, I remembered—the beach. We’d taken them off by the water’s edge. He frolicked barefoot in the surf. Sand in his brother’s eyes. We’d left in a hurry. We’d left them behind.

But that was yesterday.

A deep, irrational sadness swelled at the thought of my son’s sweet shoes sitting at the shoreline as night fell. The waves lapping relentlessly, the mysterious draw of the ocean depths, the heavy awareness that, when it comes to water, what goes in does not return.

That year was waning. Soon our flight home would hurl us ahead—collapsing hours into minutes—as it shuttled us eastward. Even suspended in sky, we fall prey to time’s pull.

Now I stood in the late December sun, palms shading my eyes, scanning the vacant shore. Seaweed scraps and debris littered where water met land. I thought of long walks and late nights, first kicks and then first steps.

Suddenly, I saw them. Two small sneakers, sitting steadfast in the sand.

I reached down to grasp what I thought was gone. 

Shoes" provided by jmettraux via Flickr's Creative Commons license.
Comments (6) - Post a Comment
How lovely!
Holly Sneeringer at 9:45am EST - February 29, 2016
This is a powerful poetic description of the fleeting nature of time and its hard pull on us. Thank you.
Beth Howard at 11:48am EST - February 29, 2016
This one made me catch my breath. I know that kind of "irrational sadness" all too well. Beautiful, Dina.
Kristen at 12:26pm EST - February 29, 2016
I especially love the paragraph about the arbitrary nature of time, flying through time zones, losing time, gaining it. And the irony that we can never relive moments.
colleen at 2:03pm EST - February 29, 2016
Breathtakingly beautiful...
Tanya Slavin at 5:52am EST - March 1, 2016
I once accidentally left a boogie board on the beach as we left a vacation with our three small boys. You've captured the essence of that irrational sadness perfectly - it's as if we've lost that tiny bit of them, isn't it?
Melissa Hoagland at 3:05pm EDT - March 21, 2016

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