Last summer, my best friend asked me to keep an eye out for purple seashells as we strolled the beach together during our joint family vacation. Thankful for this seemingly mundane task to occupy my busy mind, I set off alone and walked slowly, my head down, in search of the “perfect” purple treasures. While searching, I envisioned a beautiful glass container sitting on her desk, full of tiny treasures that would remind her of our time together and symbolize my love for her. It seemed fitting that she had asked for purple shells. “All things purple” was the mantra of my tween years, and Viki is my most cherished childhood friend.
Slowly the sun settled behind the horizon, and I recognized the familiar silhouettes of my tribe huddled together in the distance. Walking toward them, my hands overflowed with a few tiny, purple-ish clam shells and many larger, more vibrant chunks of deeply shaded fuchsia and amethyst. Looking down, I quickly assessed that the perfect lavender shells were much too small, and not bright enough. And honestly, the bright pieces I held the most of looked more like rocks than seashells, having been smoothed out after years of tumbling against the forces of sand and sea. In an instant, with a turn of my head and swing of both arms, all of my imperfect treasures were in flight. Back out to sea. Not good enough for my beloved friend.
The landscape grew quickly darker, and I rejoined the group, escaping into the laughter and busyness of night-fishing and ghost-crab hunting. My cast-off collection was out of sight and out of mind, until early the next morning when Viki asked if I wanted to go for a walk along the shore. The pursuit of purple began again, and within minutes my friend had picked up a big, broken, piece of shell, vibrantly colored, edges soft and rounded like a stone. You know, exactly like the ones I had rejected just hours before. “These are my favorite,” she said, holding out her open hand with a smile. I couldn’t help but smile in return, shaking my head and thinking to myself, “Of course they are.”
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