When Dawn looked at Matthais, he wouldn’t return her stare. Instead he watched the waves lose small battles against the rocky shore. Like her, the ocean would win someday, but today she was broken; cresting too early and her arguments sliding off Matthais like delicate sea foam. He didn’t want to hear about Martin, named for Matthais’s father or Gemma, named for his mother. His children were a footnote in his free life, important in the context of who he was only when being a father could get him something. And each year she had the same discussion with him by this beach where their firstborn Caleb, named for no one, disappeared. He needed to let her go; let the kids go. There was nothing left between him and the three, he’d given up even coming home five years ago, after Caleb, and while Dawn knew he was in pain, he’d turned that page into profit, something that moved her like the tides to drown him someday. But not today. Today she just wanted him to give up his hold on her and his alleged family; open his fist and let them slide away like sand. He had his words. He had his tragedy and the missing body of their son to keep him limelit and finacially comfortable. Dawn didn’t even want half the money. She just wanted fairness and to be left alone by the ghost of Caleb and, moreso, this ghost of the man she’d once loved. And someday she would write her own story, the tale of a man that gave up on everything he had to gain everything he wanted. Until then though, she would swell like the sea behind him, at the sides of him, knowing one day he would collapse, his soul like driftwood caught in her fury; his conscience holding him under the surface as the tides did their love.
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