I wandered along by the water’s edge at sunset. Sunsets on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula are beautiful. Making myself comfortable in the warm sand, I enjoyed the tranquility as the sun slid lower in the sky.
An unexpected voice startled me. I thought I was alone.
I turned around to see a young girl sitting on the beach behind me. Handcrafted jewellery surrounded her on a blanket. Why didn’t I hear her arrive?
“Hola” I replied. My Spanish was very limited but I admired her handiwork.
“What is your name?” I asked.
“Sophia” she said. What is your favorite color? I make you something”
“Green, I like green” I told her. I loved buying jewellery from the beach people. It was my favorite vacation souvenir.
“I make you a green bracelet.” she said. I watched for a while as her nimble fingers deftly strung together pretty green polished stones. She hummed softly as she worked. I turned back towards the ocean and watched the last glimmer of sunlight disappear, casting a golden hue on the water. Breathing deeply I enjoyed the moment. Realizing the soft humming had stopped, I looked around to see if my bracelet was finished, but Sophia was nowhere to be seen. Had I imagined her? There were no footprints in the sand. I smelled lilies, sweet and strong.
Something caught my eye. A green bracelet lay where Sophia once sat. I rubbed my eyes. My imagination again?
It’s smooth glittering beauty shone in the blood-red remains of the sunset, but there was no trace of its maker, no footsteps in the sand, nothing. I walked slowly back to my hotel looking around one more time before I left the beach in the hopes of seeing Sophia, but she was gone.
One of the hotel staff was clearing away the towels from the sun loungers by the pool. I approached him, holding the bracelet so he cold see it.
“I wanted to buy this from Sophia, but she left before I could pay her.” I told him. “Do you know when she will be here again?”
He smiled and shook his head. “Señora, Sophia does not come here. She not come back after bad storm two years ago. Big waves came without warning. We think she drowned. We look for her, but we never find her. No one see her since.”
“Look, I have the bracelet.” I said holding up my hand, but my hand was empty.
“Sorry señora, I think maybe you feel her somehow, but Sophia, she’s gone.”
My heart was heavy as I walked back to my room. The beautiful young girl was now just a ghost on the beach.