don’t look

The sand was rubbing against my skin. Stuck there by a mix of sweat, salt, and sunscreen.

My niece Mia was giggling, zig-zagging like a drunken sailor up the beach, wielding a net very unskillfully while the crab she hunted dodged her at every turn.

Ding ding.

My cell phone alerted me to a new message.

Hm. Do I keep laughing at her momentum and focusing on Mia, making sure she doesn’t get sucked out by a creeper wave? Or do I break my attention for just a minute to see what’s awaiting me on my phone?

I look down at the screen. It said:  Janet died.

My head jerks up at Mia, hurdling back towards me with the crab in hand, joyous, energy exuding from every pore and screaming, “look, look look!”

I wish I hadn’t.

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