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His mother gave him a blue pearl when he was just a boy. He would sometimes lose and find it again. He never really worried about the loss, because he always believed it would turn up. And, he would again feel its small dented imperfection and compare its blueness to the darker waters that surrounded their island. He continued to find it again and again until he didn’t.

His mother died when he was a teenager. He stood before her white and pink coffin staring at her clasped hands covering her chest. He remembered her lost blue pearl and began to cry. An island girl he rarely looked at took his hand and gently pressed each of his finger tips with hers over and over until he learned how to stop his tears. He looked down at her and realized he loved her.

They married on her eighteenth birthday. She gave him a blue pearl as her dowry and a son. He swore he would never lose it or him. And, he never did until he did.

Really, he traded them for a perfect ivory pearl from one of the many island tourists. He thought it more special. He thought it more rare. He thought it more lovely.

He began to love this temporary visitor. Her love was as temporal as her stay.

He asked her not to leave. She laughed and asked why he loved her so much.

He said it was, because she had given him pure pearl whiteness.

She laughed again.

“You silly island boy. I gave you a fake pearl! You gave me a rarer blue pearl like it was nothing. You have no idea how to value or love what you already have. Why would I want to be loved by the likes of you?”

She took his hand and gave him a long rope of white pearls he knew now to be fake. She closed his hand around her false gift and kissed his fist.

She laughed at him again and left him in her hotel room on the beach front.

He put the worthless rope around his neck and walked into the ocean.

Sometimes, the oyster farmers tell little children how they hear his sighs in the warm puffs of night breezes.