“Damn,” Marnie said as she pulled over onto the icy soft-shoulder and got out, leaving the car running but the door ajar. The beep-beeping cut through me like knives. I watched as my sister grabbed a handful of frozen snow and washed the road salt from the windshield. Satisfied, she clapped her mitts together and climbed back inside and slammed the door a little too hard for my liking. The heat hit me in the face as she pulled away and I felt slightly nauseous.
“I told you to stop back in Timberlea for washer fluid,” I said, irritated. “Why won’t you tell me where we’re going?”
“Does it matter? You promised last night we’d take care of this today. It’s been a year. It’s time.”
“I likely pledged many things last night.”
“Yeah, about that. You owe Stacey an apology.”
“You shouldn’t drink vodka, Will. That’ll never get out of her dress?”
“Vodka doesn’t stain.”
“Puke does, bro.”
“Call her later. Don’t forget. Good girlfriends aren’t easy to find.”
We drove in silence for a bit. Marnie squinted through a fresh layer of salt and I suffered the consequences of over-indulgence. Happy New Year, indeed.
Looking out the window at our upcoming destination, my resolution from last night flooded back. I sighed with resigned guilt and knew our duty.
I don’t remember ever visiting Peggy’s Cove in winter before. It was like a ghost town this morning, deathly quiet save the wind pushing the grainy snow into stinging squalls. It’d be busy later as patrons from the afternoon’s levee at the church wandered about the rocks. It wasn’t safe, of course, but that never stopped anyone.
Uncertain of my footing given my condition, I picked my way over the white rock, mindful of the icy black ones close to the water. I cursed Marnie’s invincibility to booze. She drank like a fish and you’d never know it. No doubt, it’d catch up to her.
“Will!” she shouted from a dozen paces ahead. “You bring the box?”
“Yes,” I said and held it up for her to see.
She nodded and waited for me to catch up. We needed to get right to the water’s edge, meaning we’d have to trod across the black rock, frozen slick with sea spray. The tide was mercifully high, so it was a short jaunt. We held hands for balance until we found the perfect spot.
“Here?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said. “You want to do the honors?”
“Let’s do it together.”
I held the box while Marnie opened it up and untied the bag inside. A wisp of wind caught the contents and the gray dust joined the snowy squall and drifted over the ocean. We tilted the box and let the the Universe claim its prize until there was no more to give.
“Should we say anything,” murmured Marnie. She looked at me with wet eyes, tears frosting her reddened cheeks.
I turned back to the sea and felt the scant warmth of the sun.
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