Sylvia no longer came away from her morning stroll all calm and centered, which had been the purpose of this habit when she’d started it. These days she arrived at work not relaxed, not collected, not insulated from the chaos of customers who came to SeaCakes harried and hungry and usually late for something. Whatever had happened the past five mornings—and she could in no way identify what that was—left her abuzz with nervous energy. As well as a little trigger-happy on the temper front. Once her sanctuary, SeaCakes in the morning became a ball-peen hammer applied to an oil barrel she wore over her head.
She didn’t sleep well, either, and her appetite was just gone. This morning she’d hesitated before getting up, feeling empty and vaguely nauseous. She wondered if she’d contracted the flu. But the prospect of the beach and what she might find today compelled her to rise. She was exhausted but she rushed anyway. “Craziness, I’m your girl,” she muttered.
The routine was familiar by now. She walked with Soley toward Griffins Bay from the Blakes’. She sank into a reverie she was eager to have but could not recall once she had it. She always felt as if she’d had a conversation with someone important to her, like a dead relative come back to give her vital advice, although she also had the impression she’d been on a date, one where she wanted the guy to hold her hand and kiss her goodnight but he never did. She joked with Soley they were on their way to see her sea monster, and as soon as the words left her mouth a familiar lethargy settled over her.
She stopped at the place she knew she was supposed to. She scanned the water expectantly.
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