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Sea Song

I just saw an episode of “River Monsters” on Netflix. I am sure I know where some of my future nightmares will be going. I also know where a future story will be headed.

And as much as I like to travel, the Amazon is now off my list. I am not a fan of water, but this just made it that much worse.

L. E. White

Sea Song

I stood in the shallow surf, feeling the waves push at my ankles. The sky was dark as a storm approached but the larger waves had not yet reached my beach.

I felt the pulse of the sea, the heartbeat of the ocean, and I wished that I could live within it.

I listened to the water splashing against the fat rubber wheels on my chair, and closed my eyes. I fought against the tide of my own saltwater as I think about swimming. I know I would sink, but I dream of other things.

The splashing of the waves over the tops of my pale feet leaves tiny grains of sand on my skin. After a day like this, I will try to keep from washing the sand off my feet for as long as I can. I think the longest I managed was three days but being able to look at me feet and see the sand is worth it.

“So you dream of my world?”

I turn and look over my shoulder. An old man walks towards me, following the path of my wheels that the ocean is trying to wash away.

“Your world,” I say. “What makes the ocean any more your world than anyone else’s?”

He walks around me and stops, turning so that he is facing me. “I wanted it so I took it. That makes it mine”

He is tanned, skin dark brown and cracked like mud in August. His beard and hair are wind swept, like he has been standing in front of one of those big construction fans. His eyes are the same blue green of the water you see in those commercials for a cruise to the islands.

And they do not have the black center or the white outline that my eyes do.

“What?” The only word I can say. It doesn’t do justice to what I am thinking and feeling, but it is the only word I can manage.

“I can hear the song your heart is singing,” he says. “I can give it voice like you have never known. That is within my power when you are in my world.”

My mouth goes dry as I try to answer. I know the right thing to do is say no. I have been told to avoid strangers my whole life. My mother and then my nurses all warned me about what could happen.

“You can’t protect yourself,” they said.

“You can’t escape from someone,” they said.

“You need to be careful or something bad will happen to you.”

Bad, like the time I shared kisses with another tenant of the home. She and I experimented but never went all the way before her family transferred her.

Bad, like the orderly who used me for his pleasure. He would come in during the early hours and use my body. He was gentle though he never asked if he could. He never asked and I never told.

Or did they mean bad like the doctor with the new experimental treatment who listened to me scream because it left me feeling like my skin was burning?

Bad, like the nurse who would smile when she pinched me and left a bruise?

Or bad, like the man who pushed me down a flight of stairs because I was in his way?

I knew what I should have said, but instead, I closed my mouth and nodded.

The man turned and walked away. I sat there, staring after him for a few seconds before following him down the beach. I didn’t touch the joystick on my chair.

But I followed him just the same.

I was led underneath a pier. I could smell the rot of seaweed wrapped around the posts. The sound of waves bouncing against manmade stone made it feel like I was in the middle of a raging storm.

He turned to face me again, and my chair rolled right up to his feet.

Wide, calloused hands gripped me under my arms and lifted me out of the chair with about as much effort as a mother lifting her newborn. I hung, limp and helpless, staring into those sea foam eyes while my brain screamed at me to try and run away.

He lowered me until my knees bent because my feet would sink no further into the sand. I tilted my head to look up into his eyes and watched him lean forward to kiss me.

His lips were chapped from wind and I thought I could see salt crusted at the corner. I wanted to kiss him back, if for no other reason than because I would never have gotten beneath the pier without his help. I leaned my head up, stretching to meet his mouth with mine.

I felt my legs straighten, trying to help me rise up to him.

I felt the weight of my body shift up off of his hands as I stood to kiss him.

Pinpricks coated my feet as my weight shoved them further into the sand. The muscles in my calves and thighs cried out, working for the first time in my life. My world flipped at the combination of standing and kissing. His lips claimed mine as my arms wrapped around his body and pulled our chests together.

When I broke our kiss it was to gasp for air. I tried to repeat the action, but he took my shoulders in his hands and pushed me away.

I don’t know what I looked like, but he laughed out a loud, booming laugh as he looked at my face. I thought for a moment that he was making fun of me, but then his eyes crinkled at the edges. His face took on a devilish mask of playful promise and his mouth turned up at the edges.

I opened my mouth to ask a question, but before a sound crossed my lips he had spun me around so that my back was pressed against him.

He brought on hand up in front of me and rubbed my lower lip with a fingertip. My mind went blank, all thoughts of questions and laughing, insult and injury were lost as he touched me. My lips trembled and my heart began to race until I thought I was going to explode. He undid buttons and unzipped zippers, all the while, allowing his hands to offer gentle touches across my exposed skin.

When everything ended, I was bent over in front of him with my hands buried in the sand. The water of the rising tide now splashed just above my elbows. I was in love with him and in love with his sea, happy beyond any feeling I had known and praying that this wouldn’t end.

He pulled away, dragging his fingers down my spine. He pulled away until only a single finger remained touching the small of my back.

“You sing well.”

I laughed. I had no other response.

“Your song belongs to the sea now. It is a part of it, now and forever.”

“You can have my song any time you want,” I said. My eyes were closed and my breath was slowing down. My legs were shaking but I refused to move back to my chair. I was standing bent over in the sea with a man who owned the ocean and I wasn’t ready to change a thing. I wasn’t ready to give this up.

“Good.”

I felt his finger leave my back. I felt it like someone placing an ice cube in my hand, a sudden and dramatic change in temperature. Then, my body collapsed and I went sprawling into the water.

I tried to roll over so that I could sit up. I shoved down into the sand with my good arm and spun my body over, but my stomach wasn’t strong enough to lift my head above the water. I flung my hand up, feeling the skin chill as it broke the surface to wave around in an attempt to latch onto something that would let me pull myself up. I reached to the side, felt a solid shape and grabbed ahold. I pulled, feeling my shoulder burn as I tried to drag and lift myself above the surface.

My face broke through and I choked on the water I inhaled. I had my hand wrapped around the arm rest of my wheelchair and I was stretched out with my feet pointing towards the sea.

I struggled, fighting for breath and energy as I hauled the dead weight of most of my body out of the water. I snaked my arm though the chair and looked around.

I was alone.

My clothes were on.

I whipped my head back and forth, looking for the man who claimed the sea. My teeth chattered and I began to cry, but nobody came.

The water washed up my body in slow, pulsing waves. I listened to the crashing of the surf against the pylons of the pier and remembered the way it had felt to stand in the sand and kiss.

I cried and sobbed until the water was up to the bottom of the seat. I thought about the song of my heart. The song that he said had made him take notice. I could feel it in my chest and I longed for him to touch me again.

He said my song belonged to the sea now.

I looked out from beneath the pier to where the ocean and the horizon met.

I looked at his ocean and decided that I wanted it for myself.

“This is my ocean,” I said.

Then, I let go.

 

 

 

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Categories: Fantasy, Writing
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  1. January 25, 2014 at 7:10 AM

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