30, Bethesda, Washington Post reporter
My mother and I walked down to the rocky coastline near the cabin in Maine. Early morning, late summer. The sea was rising from low tide over an expanse of smooth, wet pebbles that tumbled in the breaking waves, a musical clatter with each breath of the cold Atlantic.
We collected stones. By the time I was 7, my mother had taught me to know the ones worth keeping: We hunted for polished rocks, flattened discs of basalt, marbled spheres of breccia and greenstone. The shoreline was filled with these treasures. We spent hours there, together and separate in our searching, until our necks and knees were sore from bending and crouching.
We wandered far apart that day. On my side of the long beach, I picked up a rounded piece of granite circled by white veins of quartz. I saw the rock had been split; a break recent enough that the edges weren’t exactly smooth, old enough that they weren’t exactly sharp.
Then my mother called to me, and we walked to meet each other. I had half a stone in my hand to show her. She pulled the other half from her pocket and shouted her astonishment. I laughed. It couldn’t be. It was. The seagulls cackled with us.
Twenty-three years since that morning, and still we are together and separate, moving apart and back, over and over. Always the reminder sits in a glass-paned cabinet in the dining room of the family home, two flawed pieces of stone held together with a faded rubber band. Proof that once, incredibly, we found the far-flung halves of a broken thing and made them whole again.
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