Gripping the cool, damp sand at the edge of the water with her toes, Caroline raised her foot from its hole, extended the leg behind her, and let her body drift forward in balance. Balance was difficult in the sand. Still she managed a decent arabesque with her arms extended, one over her head, reaching out toward the soft waves of the Atlantic ocean, the other reaching up to the sky. Relaxing her foot, the one she so often cursed these days, she felt the sand tickle through her toes as it fell.
Her polish would scratch, she supposed. As late as it was already, she didn’t want to go home and repaint her toenails. Still, she dug. The lights of the pier sparkled in the dark to her right: a long string of lights beckoning her to join the festivities under the pavilion. Soft streams of jazz floated over along skimming waves.
She should dance on the pier. Normal dance. Not trained dance. Bringing her right leg and foot back to the ground, Caroline felt a long aching wail ready to stream forward from her tired soul. The soul that longed to dance. Trained dance. Not normal dance.
With a cleansing breath of briny ocean air, she decided it wouldn’t hurt to at least get close enough to the pier to hear voices. There was no reason to make the decision until morning. He’d given her that long.
The sand shifted under her feet and she moved closer to the water until waves brushed up over her toes, over her ankles, and deeper still until it splashed up onto her calves. Normally, she would never walk where she couldn’t see what her feet might find. Her feet were her lifeblood. Or they had been.
Now, she could walk where she pleased. Caroline did her best to convince herself the freedom would be worth it; it was the good side, where others had told her to focus. The good side. All in all, she would rather go back to watching every step. The good side had never been much of a friend that she’d been able to tell.
A pinch on her arch made her jump and she pulled her foot up to survey the damage. It was too dark to see whether there was blood or a protrusion. Rubbing her hand gently over the spot, she didn’t feel anything other than moisture, and the pain felt only surface deep. A prick from a sea shell, Caroline guessed. Payback for her negative thoughts. Karma was, after all, a true bitch.
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