She lied on the cold ground eerily peaceful, limbs and torso hugging the dusty sand surrounding her body. Golden hair was strewn haphazardly across her shoulders and tickling her sun-kissed skin. To his eyes, the brightness of her clothing and a sparkling piece of jewelry stood as startlingly stark contrasts to the silence and darkness of night.
Quickly Tommy made his way across the beach towards Colleen.
Rapidly clearing his throat, he willed unwelcome tears to crawl back inside his eyes. But despite his best efforts, he couldn't take control of his emotions when he reached her and began checking for a pulse, or for even the barest hint of a beat.
Robotically he began CPR and instantly was hit with the stench of alcohol lingering on her breath. Even the heavy, salty air wafting from the vast ocean couldn't compete with the fumes emanating from her thin lips.
Tears he could no longer hold back streamed across his cheeks and fell upon Colleen's face, one narrowly escaping a fall into her left eye, open yet oblivious to Tommy's frantic efforts.
Minutes later he found himself adjacent to the street, knowing only that he was waiting for the paramedics to arrive because he had to lead them to Colleen.
Colleen. Who from here looked like just a lump on the sand. His oldest daughter, his first child, could be mistaken by onlookers for a dirty bonfire pit, or a lumpy sandcastle left from a family's trip to the beach.
In an achingly morose twist of irony, like a knife or a bullet to the gut, Tommy found himself thinking, in a sense, that this was just another Gavin family trip to the beach.