Short story about memories: Turning the Tide

November 4, 2021

Collage created by Betty with images from Pexels

Betty Zhu’s tale of a young girl; her past and future, and precious stones

On the way to her hometown, she found herself wishing she still lived there. Gazing at the island’s rugged silhouette, she became lost in the distant world of her childhood. Most vivid amongst the memories was the beautiful, magical stand where she used to sell her rocks. She remembered the sturdy, splintered wood pillars that held up a wide plank, where she displayed her collection proudly.

She would wake up before the sun peeked above the horizon and chase the cool breeze down to the beach. The generous tide always offered up endless treasures for her to eye keenly and chew her chapped lips over in excited contemplation. Then, she would bound to her stall with rocks, stones, shells, and bits of sand tumbling about in her scratched up bucket as the town began to stir.

Her speciality was weird-shaped rocks of all sizes, and smooth, shiny shells. She didn’t charge very high prices and would often give away stones to her regular customers, especially when she felt they had a personal significance. The rarest, and her favourite form, of payment were hard-boiled sweets from the mainland.

When officers visited her island, from the city, many would pass by her stand. At first, they were curious upon discovering her unusual collection. Chuckling, they gravitated towards the young girl with her open face and sand in her hair, who flashed a toothy grin their way. Upon discovering her unusual collection, they became intrigued and amused.

Her grip on the rock tightened. She wouldn’t part with it not even for one hundred of those mouth-watering, sumptuous sweets

They would linger over the stretch of colours, textures and shapes set in the rich greens of seaweed snaking around the plank and pillars. How luxurious, they would say. Some days, their attention provided her with a pocketful of brightly coloured translucent sweets, with which she would skip home to share with Ari, her best friend.

One day, she woke especially early and scampered down to the beach, her hair fluttering against the striking golden light. Spellbound by the multitude of rocks leaping between sapphire waves, she felt drawn to a large glinting stone. It had a streak of silver running through its centre that was only visible when you held it up to the light. She traced her finger over its jagged edges, which had been softened slightly by the sea.

As she rearranged her stall, her mind immersed in the iridescence of her newfound stone, a light wind flurried at her feet bringing her attention to a shadow gliding towards her. Her grip on the rock tightened. She wouldn’t sell it. She wouldn’t part with it not even for one hundred of those mouth-watering, sumptuous sweets.

This promise she made to herself sealed her fate. Her special stone provided the shield and the strength that she needed to sail her through the tough years ahead. Soon, she will find it turning the tide in her favour one last time.

Images from Pexels


Betty is a student at Woodhouse College studying Physics, Mathematics and English literature. She loves creative writing and has worked with Write By You as well as Exposure. Betty hopes to spark the imagination of others through her short stories.

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