I went to the ocean today.
She gathered herself in an old, worn sweater and made her way down the jagged rocks to the shore. Her friends stayed behind, afraid of falling into the unknown below them. She watched with fascination, as the waves raced each other to the shore, embracing the rocks for a few fleeting moments, before being dragged back by the pull of the ocean.
As she looked out into the black water, she wondered if these waves could travel far enough to where he is. She wondered if she could tuck a message in between their bone-gray fingers and have it reach him, intact and loud. She would whisper it into the foam and the waves would take it and gingerly carry it to the shore where he sat, waiting for her, miles and miles away, where it would roar in his ears, amplified by anticipation.
Could the whispers we tell the ocean be stored in its depths? Does the ocean know our secret? Will it read our bottled messages to one another, and laugh at their naïve hopefulness, at the thinly veiled confessions they reek of so pungently?
I think the ocean knows everyone’s secrets.
How many sailors and sirens has this shore encountered, in all its years as this coast’s ruthlessly seductive mistress? How many have succumbed to its wily temptations? How many love stories has it read on the faces of those sailors and in the muffled, distant sobs of their abandoned lovers?
I am a sailor. He is my siren. I am his Ahab. He is my whale. Aye, very like a whale.
She pulls her sweater tighter at her ribs and inhales the stinging salt rising from the waves that were lunging at her feet. Perhaps she could dive in and hide between their folds and be delivered to that other shore. The salt prickles her lungs, but no more than her desperation.
I could jump in. I’ll end up on the other side. Surely.
She regretted coming down to the ocean today. It awakened dormant thoughts, ones she would much prefer to stay dormant. It’s the only way she knows how to survive the wait.
Wait, just a little while longer. Don’t listen to the ocean.