One story revolving around a single black pearl, told from three different points of view.
The scene was placid. The ocean waves swept gently across the surface as they made their way around the coral reef that encircled the minute uncharted island. A small motor boat was anchored in the shallow water and on its deck; an old fellow sat quietly reading his newspaper. Then I burst forth from the sea with an excited whoop, ripping off my scuba mask.
“Reel ‘er in, Victor!”
The man on deck leapt up from his seat in surprise and dashed to the side of the boat to reel in an enormous net.
“You’re a skilled one, Morgan, my boy,” the elder man acknowledged with a smile as he raised the catch from the water, locked the rope that held it in place, and swung it over the edge. As he did this, I had unhooked my oxygen and was already stripping off my wet suit.
“We found it this time, Victor. I’ve got a gut feeling the perfect pearl is in here;” I said confidently to my long time companion, “Let’s open some up, right now.”
“You don’t want to wait until we get to shore?” Victor asked.
“I would think you knew me better, Vick, I’m far too impatient for that.”
Victor laughed and lowered the net to the wooden boards of the deck. With skillful fingers he untied the safety knots that held it in place and allowed the oysters to spill out around our feet like a velvet pouch containing oodles of colorful marbles. My eyes searched the shellfish expectantly, waiting for the one that beckoned me to pry it open. I picked one up and studied it, only to put it down and take another in its place.
“This one,” I finally decided, grabbing a large oyster and prying it open. I lifted the flap of tissue inside the oyster and revealed a single, oval, peach-colored pearl. My shoulders sunk.
“Not the one sonny?” Victor sympathized. I shook my head and selected a few more oysters. One by one I opened them, finding pearls of various sizes, but none that struck me as the right one.
“It was just a feeling,” I said softly.
Victor patted my tan shoulder, “We’ll have to open them all anyway, why don’t you just check a couple more?”
Half-heartedly, I chose a large, barnacle covered oyster from the pile. I eased the shell open and was mesmerized by its contents. Between the layers of flesh and muscle a single black pearl was tenderly nestled. I examined it for a full minute, assuring myself of its flawlessness before jumping up, triumphantly punching the air.
“It’s perfect!” I called to the wide open sea.
“Let’s have a look,” Victor suggested, extending his hand to take a look at the treasure. I carefully pressed it into his palm, my eyes fixing themselves once more on its unique, mysterious beauty. Crows feet wrinkled the corners of Victor’s eyes as he squinted and finally pulled out a pair of glasses to better observe the dark, glinting pearl.
“That is a beaut’ isn’t it?” he whispered.
“It’s the most beautiful pearl I’ve ever seen,” I confirmed, “I knew I would find it eventually.”