Her face is the first I see in the crowd of neighbors and friends.
One word. It crawls up my throat, part saw-dust, part-earth, all bitter.
Her eyes flick over my face, down where my hip is, where Hearts sits in her sling, and to Sa, bare-faced, Sa who smiles and bows.
“Come in, both of you,” Mother gently guiding me into her house. Our house. The shock of realization hits. I have been away for too long.
Shu comes running, tears streaming down her face. She skids to a halt when she sees Sa, turns and runs away. My heart breaks. Perhaps she has also seen Heart.
Oysters bite and they bite deep.
While Mother talks to Sa coolly and plays with Heart, I slips out and walks to my own familiar ground, next to the beach, where Shu and I have run as little girls.
This time, I slip out and the tiny oysters – too small to be harvested and deemed inedible – cut my bare flesh. Blood wells up, deep red. I curse and feel the flare of fire within me. I bite back. I am a heretic.
This is a new beginning for me and an end of something.
What is my path, but one of forked roads?