Arts & Culture Fiction Highlights Homelessness And Poverty Reads

Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore

As you walk across the shore of your hometown beach one pleasant Saturday evening, you will come across a young woman in her early-twenties, sitting in the shade of a palm tree. She has a little boy and girl by her side – one 3, the other 4. She wears dull clothes with small holes.

Her name is Sally.

She sits behind a cardboard box and a sign that reads “SALLY’S SEASHELLS.” On top of the box, shells are laid out — large ones carved and painted with intricate designs as ornaments, small ones carefully strung together by delicate chains as jewelry.

As she waits with her children, now building a sandcastle together, she remembers her life ten years ago and her departed dreams of becoming a nurse. Now, her fortune only spared enough to feed and provide for the indigent children besides her.

Tragedy struck two years ago, when the rise in tourism caused her substandard apartment to be turned into a grand hotel for affluent travelers, forcing her out of her home.

The same tourists now laugh at her while walking by, avoiding her gaze. They mock her impoverished condition and ignore her shells.

Her shells, which are significantly underpriced. She spends the long hours of night to find the perfect-sized shells and carve them with a small blade.

One day, you walk toward Sally’s stand, eyeing a shiny necklace with small, white coffee bean shells encasing a golden scallop shell with an intricate design of roses at its borders. As you carefully hold the necklace, she smiles at you and says it’s a dollar. You pay her 20, and insist that she keeps the change.

From then on, you become so enamored with Sally’s necklaces that you come back every Saturday to buy more. You wear her jewelry often, and every time someone asks where they can get one too, you direct them toward Sally’s Seashells. Even when you leave the city, your collection of ornaments and jewelry from Sally remind you of home.

Four years later, you may be surprised to come back to your hometown beach and see Sally with her own souvenir shop and a glowing sign that will still read, “SALLY’S SEASHELLS”

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