It was odd: here we were, smack in the flat out center of the country, far from the coasts east west and south, and yet that smell was coast, deeply familiar and buried somewhere inside of me. It was the high-tide smell of wet tennis shoes left in the afternoon sun and sand to dry. It was a smell I knew so well, growing up south of LA in a little beach town back when that particular town was actually little.
But here? Where I lived with my husband and two kids? Middle America at its most middle-iciousness, a life far from the salt spray and waves and desert bright sun?
It made no sense: my husband’s running shoes, pungent with the scent of the pacific. I told myself I was imagining things and yet….
He travels for business but never anywhere near the coast. At least as far as I know. I picked up the shoes and inspected them. God, how I hated that smell, and as I knew, once you got your tennis shoes wet at the shore, they were pretty much shot. Like these. I tapped them upside down on the floor and there I found further evidence: tiny mounds of sand, like an hourglass spilling open.
I stepped back. Just then I heard his car pulling into the driveway and felt a tiny shiver of anxiety rise up in my chest.