(I love this tale)
Calendar of Tales, my entry for February.
“What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in February?”
“Met a girl on beach, searching for her grandma’s pendant, lost 50 years ago.
I had it, found previous Feb.”
Grey February skies, misty white sands, black rocks, and the sea
seemed black too, like a monochrome photograph, with only the girl
in the yellow raincoat adding any colour to the world.
Twenty years ago the old woman had walked the beach in all weathers, bowed
over, staring at the sand, occasionally bending, laboriously, to lift a rock and
look beneath it. When she had stopped coming down to the sands, a middleaged
woman, her daughter I assumed, came, and walked the beach with less
enthusiasm than her mother. Now that woman had stopped coming, and in her
place there was the girl.
She came towards me. I was the only other person on the beach in that mist. I
don’t look much older than her.
“What are you looking for?” I called.
She made a face. “What makes you think I’m looking for anything?”
“You come down here every day. Before you it was the lady, before her the very
old lady, with the umbrella.”
“That was my grandmother,” said the girl in the yellow raincoat.
“What did she lose?”
“It must be very valuable.”
“Not really. It has sentimental value.”
“Must be worth more than that, if your family has been looking for it for
“Yes.” She hesitated. Then she said, “Grandma said it would take her home
again. She said she only came here to look around. She was curious. And then
she got worried about having the pendant on her, so she hid it under a rock, so
she’d be able to find it again, when she got back. And then, when she got back,
she wasn’t sure which rock it was, not any more. That was fifty years ago.”
“Where was her home?”
“She never told us.”
The way the girl was talking made me ask the question that scared me. “Is she
still alive? Your grandmother?”
“Yes. Sort of. But she doesn’t talk to us anymore. She just stares out at the sea. It
must be horrible to be so old.”
I shook my head. It isn’t. Then I put my hand into my coat pocket and held it
out to her. “Was it anything like this? I found it on this beach a year ago. Under
The pendant was untarnished by sand or by saltwater.
The girl looked amazed, then she hugged me, and thanked me, and she took the
pendant, and ran up the misty beach, in the direction of the little town.
I watched her go: a splash of gold in a black and white world. Carrying her
grandmother’s pendant in her hand. It was a twin to the one I wore around my
I wondered about her grandmother, my little sister, whether she would ever go
home; whether she would forgive me for the joke I had played on her if she did.
Perhaps she would elect to stay on the earth, and would send the girl home in
her place. That might be fun.
Only when my great-niece was gone and I was alone, did I swim upward, letting
the pendant pull me home, up into the vastness above us, where we wander with
the lonely sky-whales and the skies and seas are one.