Driving through Northern Arizona from Albuquerque to San Bernardino to have breakfast with my friend Shoshana that I met at La Verne Law School. So excited that I leave at 4 am when it’s black out and one can see the shooting stars and those that are still only flickering. A couple of hours fly by down I-40 and I’m near the Painted Desert signs and light is coming up all around, so I pull off at Highway 77 to the State Park.
It’s pink, peach, mauve, ivory, and palest of yellows, tans, mochas. The colors are overwhelming, remembered when one closes their eyes to sleep or writes poetry about such momentous events. I pull the car over and wander out to stare at such bounty saying a silent prayer of gratefulness to the Almighty. How did I get so lucky to be here in this moment in time?
Looking down at my shoes I remember from college geology class that most of Northern Arizona was once under water and seashells are everywhere. I am positively enthralled at what I see. Seashells, lots of seashells near my feet. I reach down grabbing several handfuls laying them gently in the bottom of my purse. Off I go to meet my best friend and bring her a present of seashells. I can’t remember if I ever told her about the Grand Canyon being carved out by the waters of an ocean.
A couple of hours later I pull into a Denny’s and Shoshana is already at the table inside. I start chattering as I always do when I see her or hear her voice. I tell her about the stars, the colors of the desert (she hates cactus), and of course the seashells. She feigns interest, smiling as I reach into the bottom of my purse and place a handful of shells in the middle of the table. She bursts out laughing, shaking her head.
I respond with, “What?”
“One certainly can tell you’re a poet,” says my friend.
“What do you mean,” I ask?
“Don’t get upset,” says Shoshana. “Those are pistachio shells, not seashells.”
All rights reserved. ©2017 by Sara Fryd
My friend died Saturday last. This was the last email I received from her.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Shoshana Anne Simon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: “Fryd, Sara” <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2017 3:00 PM
Subject: Sea Shells in the Desert
Ever since you found shells in the desert and we may have mis-identified them as pistachios, something about that whole transaction has bothered me.