The Sea Glass Sisters

The Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate Read Free Book Online

Book: The Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Wingate
bayberry bushes, toward the dunes and over them onto the thin strip of sand that hasn’t been overtaken by the storm-swelled tide.
    I run and run, shoes sinking into the sand, the weight of it pulling and tugging, slowing me down, not letting me get away fast enough. The waves claw the shore, and tears blur my eyes. Far out to sea, the first hints of a change in the weather blacken into a formless darkness.
    I pant and I scream, but other than quiet, shuttered houses, no one hears me. As far as I can see down the beach, there’s not a sign of another living soul. Nothing to stop me from running, except myself. My own weakness.
    Eventually I can’t go any farther. I can’t put any more distance between myself and that phone call. My lungs burn and my legs go numb, and all I can do is collapse into a dune and watch the waves violently strike land, and feel myself going out to sea with them, piece by piece.

    I’m chilled to the bone by the time Aunt Sandy finally finds me. Overhead, the sky has narrowed, the clouds closing in. The waves have taken out the beach, the water already brown and churning with a mix of sea foam and debris. There’s only a few feet now between the shoreline and the dunes. Aunt Sandy is driving on it in the little ragtop Jeep she uses to run around the island.
    The vehicle slides to a halt, and she hurries toward me in a stocky shuffle as I rise from the dunes. I have no idea how long I’ve been here, watching the storm slowly work its way toward us. That is the beauty of the ocean, even when it’s angry. It steals all perception of time. Right now, I need to lose myself more than anything.
    But as I catch my aunt’s frantic look, I realize how selfish I’ve been, and guilt strikes me like a cold splash in the face. Undoubtedly they’ve been looking for me all this time. I’ve kept them from last-minute hurricane preparations. By default, I have probably sacrificed any possibility of talking them both into leaving. If Aunt Sandy is really having as many health problems as my mother indicated, she doesn’t need to stay here.
    “Where have you been?” She grabs me and rubs her hands up and down my arms. The sweatshirt is wet, stiff, and practically icy. The spray is so cold now.
    I like the numbness it has created.
    “I’m sorry.” I think I’ve gotten myself together. I intend to say that I had a call this morning with bad news. Instead, I manage, “The call . . . the call . . .” and then the flood wall bursts. Sobs come rushing forth, and I cry, bent over her shoulder for who knows how long. Against me, she seems strong, her feet spread a distance in the sand, bracing to hold back each strike of wind. I huddle on her leeward side like a clump of sea oats, seeking to ride out the storm.
    She does me the favor of not asking for more information, here and now. The surf is so loud, it isn’t a place for talking. Finally she guides me to the Jeep, buckles me into the passenger seat like a child, continues up the dunes until we find a place to cross through, then motors between beach houses and down the highway. In the distance, the cylindrical black-and-white stripes of the old Hatteras lighthouse stretch skyward, seeming to promise that it is possible for something well built to survive the storm.
    I wonder if I have what it takes. I don’t feel as solid as that lighthouse.
    Instead of taking me home, Aunt Sandy steers toward the Seashell Shop. She lets us in and calls my mother’s cell phone from the landline. The service is patchy right now, so the call ends abruptly.
    “We need to get you out of here, and you need to take your mother with you,” she says, suddenly all business. The storm comes first, and I’m glad of it. I don’t want to talk about the news from work. I don’t want to think about it. “There’s probably still time for you to get off the Banks and over to the mainland, at least if the traffic cooperates. But you need to go now . Just let me

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