After I left her hospital room, I drove across the city to St. Pete Beach and walked across the powdery sand to the warm lapping water. The beach was wide, and despite the few children hunting crabs with the low glow of flashlights, I was alone.
In the cloudy dark, I could make out the shapes of white shells in the white sand, and I picked them up until my hands were full.
I pictured Nana at 70, 85, 91 years old, leaning down to pick up shells, tossing away the broken ones, pictured her hands as they loosely cupped her findings, and the thick white shells from the dark helped locate me.
The next morning when I left my motel at 5 for the airport, I found that the night's low cloud cover had vanished and the sky rang clear navy. A sharp sliver of moon gleamed and nearly cradled one bright star -- she would have loved this.