Extra Days

Eventually, his breathing slowed and she could free her arm. She knew he was overtired and had had too much sun and that in the morning he’d go on about nothing but whether she’d got the new Alligator Point patch sewed on his patch jacket and he couldn’t find any socks and was there crackerjacks for his break; she knew all that. The fundamental source of sanity is the knowledge that grief won’t last. If that gives you your suspicions about joy, too bad for you. It’s the price of sanity; you don’t expect the price of anything to go down, do you? Nevertheless, she thought ten years was young to have an actual suicide plan.

She shook the sand off his things into the shower and picked up the conch, the plastic bag of clam shells and periwinkles, and the horseshoe crab. (A find, that—amber, translucent, only an inch-and-a-half across—usually the little ones broke as they washed up.) Still smaller, the fiddler crab crouched in the sand pail and, when her shadow fell across it, put up its claws like a boxer in mismatched gloves. Come’n get me. How do you convey your kind intentions to minor crustacea?

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