DRIED SKINS UNSHED
By Julie Day

 

We fisher-folk had lived along Ocean Bay for as long as any of us could remember, Hamills with boats and nets heading out before dawn. Beyond that…

The fairy tales of torn flesh and scaled creatures from the deep? Well, I can’t speak for the others, but I was never entirely convinced. Still and all, I was the one who stayed. Angie Hamill: the only Hamill left in Ocean City, the only Hamill who still carried the old stories. Let my brothers leave, my daughter too. I wasn’t moving.

We have always been a family of storytellers. Driftwood fires on the beach. The older folks resting on their rickety aluminum chairs. Us kids kicking back and forth around the fire, settling for a few minutes and then darting off again, restless as sand fleas.

“Angie girl,” Granny Marie would call out as I slipped close to the water’s edge yet again, “get your green eyes back away from there. It’s too dark.”

Later, we’d leave the empty beer bottles behind, green glass in the sand. Perhaps an offering to our past? Perhaps a token of good luck? Though our eyes somehow never struck us as lucky; green too, but with a tinge of yellow. All our eyes alike.

Close those eyes now and the fire’s heat is with me still, the stories, too. Granny Marie and her brother Tony sipping from their paper bags as they took turns telling us “How the First Hamill Reached Ocean City” and “Davie Hamill’s Choice” and sometimes, if the night sky was dark enough, “Who We Were Before.” [...]

 
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Julie Day graduated from the Stonecoast M.F.A. program and the Viable Paradise Writers' Workshop. By day she writes IT documents as well as documents of the more clearly fictional variety. Some of her favorite things include gummy candies, loose teas, and standing desks. You can find Julie online at http://www.stillwingingit.com.

 

 
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