Don’t tell anyone, but in the pouring rain and darkness before dawn, we drove to the wharf, and there, protected by berthed vessels, I dumped a shattered plate into the sea. Now every time my four beloved Italians find a fragment of royal-blue sea glass, washed up on the shore, they will think of me.
My shoulders heaved in sobs as the light of the wharf lamps flashed off the tinkling glass, waves swallowing my offering in rushy gulps. I lingered a moment to gaze far across the water to Boston, its towers glittering like Christmas ornaments. I remembered the time I asked my hostess why cities glitter by night, but neither she nor I knew the answer. Clutching the empty bag that had held the plate, I returned to the van, not to smell the sea again for a long time. We were gone from the island (my island) before the sun had risen to shed its light and let me see Nahant one last time. But I will not forget its beauty. Yes, that is what I discovered there—beauty. Beauty in the world and in people . . . and in myself.
As I lifted into the sky, bound for Canada, I said goodbye to soil that nourished me, allowing me to blossom. My prayer is that I left a few petals in my wake. By the tears of my beloveds, I believe I did.