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The house on the cliff is painted shades of blue. Against the sky, it fades to near nothing but floating glass windows and white trim. If a breeze floats through, the rooms will smell of clouds. The scent is like coming home to a place that exists everywhere but no one place at a time. 

A woman stands at the start of the path, a shock of pink against the expanse behind her. She wears a wide-brimmed summer hat, the straw ends frayed and floating in the breeze, shorter unweaved pieces nearly sticking straight up from the coarseness of their strands. The straw wraps around loose ends of her dark hair, blowing in the breeze in imitation of her dress.

 Beneath the hat, her eyes are stern, but not unkind, wrinkled slightly at the corners, aged with a wisdom hard to place in either sadness or happiness. She inhales the sea letting it settle in her chest, with no hurry to go one way or another and with a peace to simply exist with the wind. 

Every summer, the salt in the breeze seems lighter, like the sun soaked it all up before the wind could take any. Small things change, the woman thought to herself, hiking up a corner of her dress and ascending the path. 

On the eve of her fiftieth birthday, her mother passed. Since she was a little girl, the image of her mother on the porch winding yarn into rows, a cool shadow of shade covering her face, was etched into her mind. Her mother was quiet. Between the both of them there was a silence not needing to be filled with words, but heavy with the sea and maternalism. Even if her mother rarely spoke the words “I love you” she never felt it amiss from her life. The meanings of words existed in the filtered light of the sun of early mornings and quiet evenings with the waning sound of seagulls finding perches to sleep for the night. 

Returning home was heaviness in her heart, but a lightness fleeting around the edges of her smile. When she rounded the top step of the house, budding summer blooms greeted her. The blue, blue of the house was like stepping into the sky, the final embrace from her mother. Small things change but feelings rarely do. 

The words “I love you” was the house on the cliff by the sea, blue as the sky. Where her mother taught her how to cook and where she existed as a warmth too great to contain, like the sun on the sea.

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