I'd not been to that particular beach before. The air was bright that day, and the sky clear as we straggled, the three of us, along the water's edge. The sun was in my eyes and I found myself pausing on the edge of things, squinting out at the sky and the sea and the islands floating there. My mother walked up to me and said, "Emily, you look so happy right now."
We left the beach with pockets full of rocks, rounded pebbles smoothed by waves and sand and the ages, perfect for holding curled tightly in a fist. Grainy sand clung to them, and then to my fingers, damp and cold, begging to be licked. And the salt of the Salish Sea tasted better to me than tears.