Serenity - A Short Story
I saw a girl on the beach today. She was sprawled out at the mercy of the relentless, rippling blue and even though she was dwarfed by the wide expanse of water before her, she seemed oddly angelic. A solitary ray of light illuminated her face in an almost saint-like manner and she seemed utterly at peace. She looked like someone I knew, some youthful and vibrant figure that had long escaped my life, but I was certain I had seen her eyes before, piercing through mine with an honest look of cruel disappointment. I wondered how she could seem so serene, even as the waves began to lap impatiently at her feet and watched with awe and envy as the nothing of the turbulent sea before her was reflected in the expression on her face. I wish I could claim to be as impervious to life as this woman; I wish I too could lay alongside the sea as if it were my equal and let the water greet me with a long anticipated embrace. Alas, I could never allow myself that vulnerability and I know in my heart that I would be dragged down by the unrelenting waves kicking and screaming until my very last breath.
The waves had reached her knees now, and I began to be anxiously aware of the rapidly rising tide. I could hear that underneath the cruel hiss of the waves, she had begun singing a haunting mantra, some kind of offering or prayer to the water that now enveloped her waist. She had a gentle, airy voice that sounded so confident and so much like my own. Although she seemed defiant enough, I could hear in her voice an undercurrent of sadness, some weeping regret that I was all too familiar with. It was almost sickening to hear, and I regret to say that I almost became relieved as the waves began to constrict around her chest and bellow their own raucous melodies over her solitary prayer.
“What a silly girl,” I thought. How foolish must you be to allow yourself to lie there in such a manner. How stupid must she be to lie their oblivious of her impending dissapearance. My thoughts were filled with cruelty towards this woman I had never met, this goddess of the sea that somehow was resistant to fear, to water or reality.
But then, just as the water was about to smother her face I saw a look of fear flash in her eyes. Her serene beauty contorted into a look of pure, unflinching terror and her eyes pleaded with her new captor. In that one second all of her regret, and despair, and vulnerability has risen to the surface before it was at once washed away again by the tide.
No sooner as she disappeared into the waves, I ran stumbling down to the shorefront where she lay moments before. However, where her body should have lay there was simply a mound of sand, moulded mishapenly into the form of a woman who no longer was. I tried to grasp the sand with my hands, desperately trying to mold her golden features to the look of peace that I had seen just moments before, however the violent sea washed more and more away before I could begin to save her. I was clutching at sand desperately and could feel the salty mixture of tears and sea water fall upon my face as the naive, peaceful girl was washed away from me. But, as I have always done, I decided to resign from my struggles and accept my defeat. I knew in my core that my struggles were not worth the pain, and I walked a small while up the shore.
It is there on that golden shore I am laying now, as I know now that we all must submit to the beast of the ocean eventually. I’m trying to remain calm and remember that saint-like girl on the shore, but even I recognise I am too weak to not regret the things I have done.
I begin to feel the water lap at my feet.