I follow her along the beach. She's walking barefoot squishing toes into the still cool sand, heels slung over her shoulder. Once carefully coifed hair, mussed up with errant strands falling down about her shoulders. She doesn't want to go home yet, doesn't want the night to end. I oblige her request to watch the sunrise.

"We're late already, so what's the dif now?" I find it hard to tell her no.

She looks so lovely in that lavender prom dress. She does not believe it. She is usually ripped jeans, wild hair and paint splattered T-shirts. This is a new look for her.

"Gawd! I'm so uncomfortable in this getup" she says.

She thinks she looks like a dork. I don't see this. I see a fairy princess and more. I see big dark purple flowers peeking through sheer light purple gauze overlay. Crisscrossed ribbon in the front, holding her bodice together, inviting a pull and a peek. I resist that urge.

She grasps my fingers with her own leading me along the shore. Holding them, yet not. I follow where she goes. She is searching the ground in the softening darkness. I see sea weed, rocks, an old tire half buried in the sand. There is debris strewn about, a needle by the driftwood and a used condom a few feet away. She does not appear to notice these things. I do not point them out.

She pushes her glasses back up on her nose as she digs through the sand with her toes here and there along our walk. Her fingers are warm in mine. I like them there. They feel right. The sky is getting rosier. The sun will be up soon.

"It's tickling at the horizon", she says, tipping her head towards the east.

She's been tickling at me for months now. She hikes up her skirt and hunches down close to the sand. Her updo falls even more. She blows the hair out of her eyes before giving up and removing the pins completely. She throws them out to sea. Golden hair spills down her shoulders. She looks more at ease. Then, she starts to dig in the sand.

"Here, take a look at this" she lifts a shell up to show me.

The outside is non descript, rather plain actually, a little beat up from weathering the tides. She turns it just so to catch the rising sun. It glows iridescent along the inside of the shell. Pinks and roses and purples. It's like a pearl winking out from under an oyster's tongue.

"It's one of nature's hidden treasures. You gotta keep your eyes open so you don't miss it." she says. "I like this kind of stuff. It's pretty"

I would say the same thing about her, but I don't. I just smile and squeeze her hand.

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