RIPPLES OF MOONLIGHT glide over the waves. Kissing the dark curving thigh of the shore, the sea whispers secrets against the sand, as the tide is gently pried back, ready to re-begin its conquest.
Nestled in a thin sheet, she stares out across the water, wondering. The night is cloudless; hundreds of crushed diamonds sparkle, ivory fires surrounding the full moon.
Sighing, she rubs her chin into her arms. A sultry heat lumbers over the island, even at midnight, cooled partially by the ocean breeze. The soft wind brushes her clenched hands, as if to dampen the anxiety brewing inside her.
Hot frantic sparks sputter in her chest. They scurry to her forehead, trapped by an invisible band of stone, methodically crushed by her own thoughts. They scamper forward, eager to grasp the newly sprung insight, like a seedling, only to have the way blocked by a gate of stone. Pulled up short, her deep reflection runs in circles, fed up.
She purses her lips, brows furrowing. If not for the ocean, she suspects she would be angry. For it is wider than she can imagine; it reveals back to her how small she is and hence how precious she should think of her tiny spark of existence.
In the grand scheme of life, everything she worries about – money, housing, respect, society’s standards – are only minuscule concerns in the larger scheme of life. And, somehow naturally, if that is true, then why not live as honestly as herself as she can? It seems the most sensible thing to do. And then, her reflection went further to include those who she occasionally sails with – her shipmates.
Shifting on the grainy shore, she glances up to the moon. Its creamy luminous face gazes down expressionlessly, and, in the same manner, she had begun to suspect that her shipmates were as blank as the moon above; she did not belong with them.
But her reflection had confirmed that, yes, they were valuable. To have them removed from her life would entail loosing something she had never dreamed she had needed – friendship and companionship. They fulfilled nothing she had ever wanted but now that they had come to distract her from her life’s purpose, to not have them would leave her empty because they had given her something more precious that a life’s purpose.
Of course, to be fair, she concedes, lifting the sheet over her head so only the white flecked ocean, adorned in garlands of gardenias, can be seen, there were really only two of her shipmates who had, properly speaking, distracted her.
She chuckles at the thought, snorting into her skin. Each of them – the captain and the swordsman – both passionately affirmed that she pursue her life goal of writing, even though they had each been the biggest distractions.
The captain, once her former husband, is the easier to understand. Marriage to him had created a burning desire inside her to devote herself to him; her spirit had glowed like a golden furnace and a thousand fiery suns just by knowing that he loved her and that she loved him and that, no matter what happened or what the world did to them, they would always find their way back together. Fate could never sunder them apart; they were meant to be together. But in the process, he had become more valuable than her writing. Not that he had not supported and encouraged it, but he became the thing to which she wished to devote all her time and energy, not her writing.
The swordsman is more complicated. From the very start, when she had been drawn into the lifestyle of her shipmates, he had adamantly maintained that their life goals of writing and swordsmanship were of greater value than any romantic love. But, despite what he maintained, it had been seeing him for the first time that had ripped her from her expected path and thrown her squarely into the ocean lifestyle of her shipmates. He had been the one to distract her from the path she had expected to live; he had drowned her in a new ocean she had not wanted to partake in.
Thus, it was not that he took the place of her writing and (allegedly) distracted her that way, but that the very construction of his being – whether shipmate or not – was a distraction to her. He changed everything by coming into her life. By meeting him, she had left the man she had previously promised to marry; the man who she had thought was the replacement of the precious one she had lost in an earlier life. She had thought she had found her place and the perfect one to love. But then, she had seen him and there had been no turning back after that.
Lifting her head, she squints across the sea; droplets of silver doubloons shimmer on the dark waves, treasure-sisters of the stars.
Then, she muses, if the swordsman was the greatest distraction and her shipmates had given her something more precious than a life’s purpose, what did he give her, if it was not necessary that he was her shipmate? But he was, even if he didn’t live on the ship anymore. And perhaps, there was a difference between his distraction and her shipmates’.
He distracted her from a belief of where she belonged and to whom her deep self-propelled love was for, not because he contained either option, but because she could never deny him. The presence of his being was too deep for her to ignore. And anywhere he would lead by distracting her would be valuable simply because his spiritual essence was so magnetic. That he had ended up being contained at least within the first option had simply compounded his value.
Her shipmates distracted her from her pre-established notions of what and who she was – a solitary individual devoted to mending broken souls, who had been eternally wounded and bereft of the one who mattered most to her soul. They had given her friendship and, especially her captain, the belief that she was healed and whole, not a re-cobbled doll.
They had made her believe that life, no matter how awkward, painful, or cruel, was worth smiling through. Not because they had suffered greatly and endured and so stood as pinnacles of what she should be, despite her occasionally guilt that it should be so, but because all their cares seemed so small compared to the wondrous islands and amazing adventures they encountered. What did one day of disagreement or pain matter when there were wind dragons, sky oceans, candy cities, rainbow sea-fireflies, and floating fortresses of knowledge?
And the swordsman was a part of that, even if his distraction had not been because of that. He had become her shipmate-distraction, even if he had not begun that way.
Gazing across the ocean, she decides that his distraction was the same – deep and impossible to resist. They were twined into one another’s lives, like the moon and the sea, and so would forever be drawn together, no matter what they wished or wanted, just like the tide. Because every stream in her soul merged into a single, central spring that throbbed with the soul-embedded magnetism that existed between them.
He is the story she can never escape from; he is the story of a moon princess and an earth prince, a daughter of the moon and a son of the sea, a moon’s daughter and a forest’s wolf, a healing moon and musical ocean, a flowering blossom and an icy blade, just as much as she is.
But her shipmates’ distraction is also like the moon. Like the crescent moon, their brightness is appealing and amusing in its slenderness, a sliver of light in the darkness that does not seem vitally important. But then, before one realizes it, it blooms into a full moon, radiating and illuminating the scars that never were or worries that are now too small to fret over.
Word Count: 1,367
Written: 14 July 2012