Julia flung clothes on her bed where Deanna was lounging, texting, and occasionally helping.
"California was chill," said Deanna.
"Yeah, until I wiped out in the surf," said Julia. She flopped beside Deanna.
"That wasn't so smooth," said Deanna. "You missed finals, and Coach Benson almost cried."
"He doesn't know how to cry."
"I got sunburned."
"Deanna, we are always in trouble."
"He laughed at your skilled placement of bunnoriffic cupcake."
Julia laughed, "That was an accident."
Julia's stitches were removed and she refused to swim. Her mother arranged a trip to Aunt Georgia's, and the cell phone became Julia's tether to Deanna.
"OMG! She has an orange fro!" texted Julia.
"No!" replied Deanna.
"O--" Julia's mother snatched the phone.
"Give me a hug!" Aunt Georgia's rose scent diffused the impending confrontation. Kinky orange hair tickled Julia's face, and she melted into her aunt's embrace.
Books, shells, and art filled the small beach house. Julia found her room and sat on the bed. A mobile of sea glass hung in the window and created moving pastel swatches on the wall. Julia texted Deanna, read a magazine, and finally dozed off to the buffered kitchen conversation.
A knock on the door woke her. Aunt Georgia ushered Julia to a kitchen nook, and the smell of baked bread and clam chowder eliminated plans to skip dinner.
"Where are my parents?"
"They went out to eat. They'll stop and say goodbye afterward."
"They adore you, Julia."
Aunt Georgia walked to the fireplace and lifted a tumbler of sea glass. She brought it to the table.
"Pick out a piece of sea glass," she said, "What do you see?"
"A broken piece of glass--" Julia's cell phone buzzed. Aunt Georgia placed a hand over Julia's.
"I need to answer--"
"What can it become?"
"Sea glass--what can it become?"
Julia sighed. "Eventually it's just another grain of sand."
"Hmm," said her aunt.
"They're all worn down to be alike."
"Oh?" Aunt Georgia walked out of the kitchen. Julia sopped her bread in the soup and pondered the woman so unlike her mother. Aunt Georgia returned with a few grains of sand and a microscope.
Julia peered through the scope--each grain was unique.
"Every day I want you to choose a piece of sea glass and do something with it. Each piece is a work in progress. Accept it as is, or throw it back in the sea. It's your choice. Tumbling can soften the edges, but there's a chance it will break. You may miss an opportunity to create a work of art."
"Do something with it?"
Julia held the piece of sea glass and stood by the roaring waves. She felt wind's fury, looked at the jagged edges of gray-white glass, and hurled it into the sea...
Series four will be posted Tuesday, July 14.