The wind was gusting across the beach blowing sand and spray against Sarah’s face. She blinked with half-closed eyes trying to hold back her tears, and raised her hand to her face as a shield against the stinging sand. In her right hand she tightly clutched a small, white box close against her body. Sarah stood just a few yards from the surf, feeling the power of each wave and the constant buffeting of the wind. Being this close to the sea did not bring Sarah joy this day. Her grief and sorrow were simply too great.
Turning her back to the wind and sea, Sarah sank kneeling in the sand while pressing the small box gently to her lips. With her reddish-brown hair streaming in the wind, and her body hunched over in protection, she began removing the ribbon that held the lid to the box. The box and ribbon were the most beautiful she could find among her bedroom treasures. She was glad that she had saved the box and ribbon from her ninth birthday bracelet six weeks earlier. Sarah carefully slid the white, satin ribbon from the box and then over her hand and wrist to secure it against the wind.
She remained motionless for several minutes unable to continue. Then as she started to remove the lid itself, the terrible pain and sorrow came rushing back and her body shook with sobs. Sarah no longer fought to hold back her tears. She couldn’t. “It was my fault. It was all my fault. I should have been more careful,” she cried. Lowering her head, she held the box against her cheek as she rocked from side to side trying desperately to relieve her hurt.
Sarah was startled by a firm hand on her shoulder. She had not seen or heard anyone and was frightened momentarily. Her first instinct was to run.
“Don’t be afraid, Sarah. I am your friend,” said a man with a deep soothing voice.
Something in the man’s voice made her less afraid. She looked up through her tears to see him standing very still directly in front of her, with his hands and arms extended to show her that he meant no harm.