CREDOS: Serenity — III

But the time comes when you begin to sober up. For an alcoholic this can be a ghastly experience. You’re overwhelmed with self-disgust; you’re choked with despair. I looked at my face in the mirror, the bloodshot eyes, the three-day beard, and knew I was looking at a total failure. As a man, as a husband, as a human being, I had made a complete mess of my life. The conviction came to me that the best thing I could do for Alma and for everyone else would be to remove myself from the scene, permanently.

“I knew, moreover, just how to do it. A half gale was blowing outside. The sea was wild. I would swim out as far as I could, past the point of no return.

That would take care of everything.”

Ken’s pipe had gone out. “I stumbled down onto the beach. It was just after dawn; the sky was red and angry; the waves were furious. I walked straight to the edge of the water. As I reached it, something glinted on the sand.” He opened the box. “This.” In the box was a shell. A narrow oval of fluted calcium, pale, graceful, delicate. “I stood there staring at it,” Ken went on. “It was so fragile. Yet here it was, undamaged, perfect. “How was this possible? “The shell had yielded

itself to the awful forces crashing around it. It had accepted the storm just as it had accepted the stillness of the depths where it had its beginnings.”

“Do you know its name?” I asked. Ken smiled that slow smile of his. “Yes,” he said. “They call it an angel’s wing.” — (Concluded)