They Saw No Fins

Every year since she was young, Jill’s family summers near a remote beach on Martha’s Vineyard.

On the morning of her disappearance, Jill’s mother leaves the house before everyone is awake, barefoot, and walks into the mist toward the beach.

The sun does what it always does and the short dirt path to the ocean is wet and muddy. She throws her hat into the sand and walks in curved lines up the beach.

She strips down to her bathing suit and leaves her clothes in a tightly packed pile in the sand. Walking out into the surf, she dives over a breaking wave and cracks the surface of the water.

The night before, Jill writes and performs a play for all the family members who are sober enough to pay attention. Her mother helps her into her costume and gives the introduction.

Before bed, she tells Jill about the importance of solidarity, that a carpenter’s union strike had sparked on the island, and that they were going to bring them sandwiches tomorrow.

Even though her mother had long ago left her modest upbringing for the riches of an industrialist turned software mogul, she still retained a sense of mutual aid for others.

A week later and her mother still missing, a shark attack occurs.  When the shark is killed they find a bathing suit inside. A local newspaper reports that people on the beach “saw no fins”.

Jill was 7 years old when the shark without a fin maybe stole her mother. The carpenter’s union lost. Jill kept living. She’s now 36 years old.