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Old 09-17-2011, 02:14 AM
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Devon (Offline)
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Default Breathing in the Ocean - thisangel

Sometimes she sits still, a half-mended sail in her lap, the curved needle trailing a dark spiral of thread against the white, as she tries to remember her mother. Usually when she tries like that, she fails. Not a single image comes to mind; not the shape of a face, not the sound of a voice. It’s only when she doesn’t try – on long summer days, when the waves lap at the sand like thirsty dogs, when the soft breeze carries the breath of salt to the door of her lonley cottage; or in the dark of winter, when the wind roars and worries the stone around her, as she sits by her old woodstove, reading by lamplight – it’s then she gets a glimpse. Not really a memory – more like a dream. A dream almost remembered. The soft sound of a voice in song. A lullaby, it’s haunting melody lingering just beyond the edge of hearing. The scent of her hair, long and dark against pale skin. In memory her mother is luminescent and smiling, but the smile is always sad. The melody always minor key’d.

Of course she knows that it’s probably her own emotion coloring those memories. Her own loss. If they’re even memories at all. Its far more likely they are imaginings, made of ideas stolen from books and films, poems and songs…a patchwork mother for a patchwork girl. She was far too young at the time to really remember. Not even four years old. Everyone says of course she wouldn’t remember. Of course. But still…


It was mid-summer. That much she’s been told, but she thinks she can remember the sand, warmed by the sun, soft against her baby toes, grainy and sparking in her hands as she played on the shore. They weren’t far from the cottage. She’s been told that too, but she thinks she remembers being scooped up in her mothers arms, the rocking comfort of being carried against her hip…wanting to be put down, wanting to play…the pure joy at being set down, being free to mound the mud and sand into castles and walls and smash them down again, free to laugh with delight as the salt water rushed to fill the finger-dug trenches, water spilling around the mounds, in circles and circles again. She left her there, on the beach. Not so much told that as felt it, hearing the whispers whenever someone new asks, or even if they don’t. Of course most everyone around the place knows. It made all the papers. Even over in England. There were search parties and missing posters, boats put out, shouts and torches stabbing the dark water, back and forth, like a hundred shaking lighthouse beams.


No. She’s making that part up. By then she was safe somewhere with neighbors, wide-eyed and wanting. Maybe she cried. She didn’t remember crying, but she must have. She must have wanted her mother, must have missed her, must have known something was wrong. Children know.


Sometimes she remembers more. Playing in the garden, early morning – sneaking into the shed, out of bounds…and finding something. An old coat? Heavy and dark. The cold smell of salt and sand…seaweed. And something else. The emotions are clearer than the images. Getting found out. A shadow across the door, her mothers hands, reaching…an expected scolding that didn’t happen. Then back to the sun on sand again, an eternal loop. Putting her down to play, happy out, mound building…a kiss on her forehead, a shadow against the sun, salt and seaweed and that something else brushing against her cheek…and gone. Like the castles, taken by the waves. One mad rush against the shore and its all gone.


Sometimes she dreams her. Walking away into the sea, her dark hair flying wild in the wind, that old coat trailing behind like a wake, into the water, under the waves; black and white and green and gray, until all that is left is blue.


Sometimes then, she’ll wake up smiling, not needing to remember, but knowing. Like children know.
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