I was in a terrible mood
As I walked the waterline along the beach.
Cynthia broke up with me last night
Claimed I was running away from our problem
Not willing to face it.
So I drove away and ran to the shore.
I was alone in pain watching waves and
Crushing discarded shells as I walked.
My eye caught a splash of color,
A crab’s claw not the crab just the claw.
Transfixed by its beautiful blue arm and red pointed pincers,
I felt the awful pain it caused
As it brought its catch to its mouth
Scooped up the claw in a clam shell
Brought it back to my rented room
Placed it on the night table next to the phone and lamp.
I moped through the rest of the day falling asleep
After finishing my third beer and a bottle of tequila.
Sleep offered little relief from my pain
Consciousness seemed far away when I first heard the tapping.
Tap, tap, tap
Like something striking the lamp base
Growing louder and louder until
I opened my eyes and turned on the light.
The claw sat in the shell motionless. I stared at it
Expecting it to move to tap the lamp base
One more time. I waited.
It did not move.
The message light was blinking.
It was Cynthia. She wanted to hear
My voice. It was 2 a.m. when I called her back.
Could she come to the shore so we could talk?
How does one feel when sunlight finds a crack
In the clouds and lights the ground?
I whispered “yes” and silently started to cry.
At dawn while waiting for her by the shore
Watching the waves, I took the blue and red crab claw
With its painful pincers and threw it back into the sea
Where it belonged.
It no longer interested me.