The Last Morning As Miss Anne
The sun was still low in the sky as Susan and Anne walked down Shoreline Beach, a park that Susan had taken Anne to since she was a baby with fair red hair and eyes too big for your little skull. The sand rubbed Anne’s toes in her open sandals and she felt calm and happy for the first time since all the wedding planning started eight months before.
"This is a lovely morning." Susan said, not bothering to turn to look at Anne but she knew Susan was smiling, soaking up the warm sun and the cool breeze coming off the water.
"Yeah, it’s so warm for this early."
Susan stopped and looked back at the way the two had come. "We should turn back, you can’t let your mom keep you away from your wedding day."
“It’ll be weird" Anne paused for a moment, taking a deep breath of salt air "leaving this life behind."
Susan smiled at her daughter and grabbed her hand, "New York isn’t that far away" she said though Susan felt like New York was as good as the moon in distance.
"It all feels so big."
"Good, it should feel giant. It’s a momentous thing to tether yourself to someone else for life."
Anne nodded, then looked down at the sand as they walked back to the stairs that lead up to the parking lot. "I know, it’s not about the ring it’s grave and all that. You and dad always told me that."
The small waves lapped up on little stones as the tide came in as Susan laughed an answer.
"That’s because we’re wise and all knowing." Susan said, the laugh still creasing the skin around her eyes.
Anne ran ahead of her mother, the sand kicking up around her feet as she ran, shouting back to Susan "Then why wasn’t I punished when I used to sneak out of the house to make out with Denny from down the street?"
"You didn’t?" Susan asked as she caught up with Anne's speed.
"Oh I did."
"That’s it the wedding’s off. You’re grounded."
"Sorry, but dad’ll die if we pull out now. " Anne said as Susan nodded toward her in agreement.
"Oh wouldn’t he. I’ve never seen him more serious than when he was trying to get a discount on used invitation paper."
"You never mentioned that." Anne said, slightly surprised by not knowing every detail about the wedding plans.
"You have enough on your plate. I’ll deal with him."
Anne stopped jogging and rolled her navy capris up around her small knees, then tiptoed into the water to let the waves splash her legs. Susan walked over from the path their footprints had made in the sand and watched her daughter splash in the water, the cold turning to goose bumps on Anne's fair skin.
Susan smiled at Anne, knowing how much would change and knowing that Anne couldn't grasp what lay ahead of her.
"I’m going to miss my sweet bee."
Anne turned around from the salty deep blue water to Susan; she hugged her without saying a word. Anne could feel that things wouldn't be the same after today and she didn't have the right words gathered together yet to express what she felt getting these last moments with her mother. Instead they both walked on. Susan bent down to pick up a seashell and handed the blue shell to Anne, holding the gift in her daughter’s hand for a moment.
"Something of home."
Anne looked at the shell then tilted her head up to look at the sun; the rays slightly blinding her eyes to her surroundings.
"We’d better hurry, it’s gotten late." Anne said, bring her head back down to the beach.
"Time stands still for no bride." Susan answered and they both headed down the path though she let Anne trail ahead of her and she watched as her daughter walked off.