today we walked along the beach. she looked for shells and sea glass. she looked for lost treasure or baby crabs. she pressed her ear to every shell in hopes to hear something. i walked, eyes to the ground, in search of nothing. eyes dancing over smooth stones and rotting kelp.
when we found it, my first thought was to pick it up. cradle it. pet it and rock slowly back and forth. in a moment, that passed and i whispered "don't touch it". it's fur looked so smooth. like it would feel like silk. or softer. maybe cashmere. wet cashmere. i wondered if she wanted to pet it like i did. or if she could even understand death. she said he was sleeping and when the tide came back up, the water would take him back to the sea, back to his home and his mother. and then i realized she understands death more than i do.
then she asked why there was blood on his head. where was it's eye. why is there a rock where it's eye should be. i said birds probably picked at it and someone must have put the rock there.
it was the same size as a an infant. it's round belly and smooth head looked just like a human baby. this didn't make it more scary or horrifying. it was just an observation i made to myself when i was trying to figure out why i wanted, desperately, to hold it.
i silently cursed any child that poked at it with a stick, especially the child who placed a rock, a fucking rock, where its beautiful, deep, dark eye once was. i started to get emotional at this thought. something so new. so young and magical as a baby seal. with shiny fur and perfect spots and a tiny tail tucked under him. a baby seal who died alone on a beach and some fucking jerkoff poked at it. how dare they. how dare they put a rock in it's eye.
i could see little eyelashes surrounding the rock. my heart hurt for the mother seal. do they even love? does she miss him? was she out there waiting for the tide to come up?
it wasn't until we walked away that it occurred to me...someone...perhaps a mother like me....covered the the eaten, pecked out eye. perhaps she covered it to save us from the hurt or the fear of witnessing what was underneath.