The Taste of Salt [ficlet]

My earliest memory brings with it the briny smell of sea, the feel of sand stuck between my toes, the sound of waves pummeling the sand. The taste of salt.

I am 4. This is my first trip to the beach. I’ve never seen so much water in one place before.

“Mommy, does it ever stop?”

“Does what ever stop, child?”

“The water, there’s so much of it, mommy!”

She laughs and pats my head, and I squeal and cling to her legs as a sudden wave takes me by surprise, wetting the hem of my dress.


Today I am 40. I’m at the shore again, smelling the bittersweet scent of the sea again. My heels are sinking into the sand, so I take them off, to feel the tiny grains of sand crunching between my toes. The wind whips my hair about, whips the sea about, steals all the words from my mouth.

I hold up the hem of my dress and wade into the water. It is ice-like in this month, February. I unscrew the cap to the urn and shake the ashes into the water. As I watch them float away, I taste salt in my mouth and realize I am crying.

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