Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
The girl from the sea looked out the window of the hut and watched as the tide came in and receded, the same way it did every day. It may have been three years or three millennia since they had first built this hut by the shore together; she couldn't be sure. The passage of time here seemed to have slowed to a stand-still, as though the sands of time were clogged in an hour glass. Each day in this hut was the same as all the days preceding and the girl was beginning to long for something she had given up so many years ago.
Though she could still see the sea from her window when the tide came in, the water seemed more distant now, like something that belonged only in her long-forgotten past. Her life was here now, with the man who had once traveled upon the desert. They had built this hut on the shore, where the water met the sand. But the water was further away now, and she could feel only the sand upon her bare feet as she paced across the sandy floor of the hut.
Landlocked as it were, the hut was an island unto itself, removed from the desert and the sea, and perhaps time itself. The girl, who long ago had washed upon this shore from the sea, looked over at the one-time traveler as he sat idly on the other side of the hut. Though she didn't notice it when they met, he reminded her of a person, a place, she had left so many years ago. Though she had traveled many shores, it was as though she was back to where she had started almost an eternity ago.
"Don't you ever wonder what lies beyond this hut?" she would often ask the man who had once traveled the desert, so long ago.
"My journey is done," he would reply. "This is where our life is now."
The former traveler seemed content to sit here, doing nothing but passing the time in this hut removed from time. The girl from the sea began to realize that perhaps, while he wandered the desert, he had never actually been seeking anything. And now, with her, he had found the void he had been searching for so long ago. His travels where over now. This was the end of his journey. The journey that had never really begun.
The girl returned to the window. Though the tide had gone out, she could still almost catch a glimpse of the sea that had been such a part of her in a previous lifetime. Something in her longed to be part of the sea once more. She missed the way the waves felt against her skin; the way the water felt in her soul. The sea didn't seem so bitter now, and she couldn't remember why she left for this land all those years ago.
As the moon rose in the sky and the tide began to move out, the girl looked over her shoulder and saw the man still contentedly staring at the walls of the hut. With a sigh, she realized what she had to do.
Without another glance back, she left the hut. The fragile door seemed reluctant to open at first, but the girl was surprised to find that it didn't take much effort to get through. She began her journey, on foot, to the place where the tide met the sand. The man hadn't noticed she had left the comfort of the hut they had built together.
The girl from the sea passed a stagnate wading pool on her way to the sea. Though it may have once been clear and full of life, the water was now murky as it mixed with the desert sand. The water here may never be clean again, the girl thought to herself. She continued walking to the edge of the shore and stared out across the water for quite some time. She then turned back to look at the hut in the distance; the hut that she had helped to build, the hut she chose over the sea all those years ago in a distant dream. She stared at the hut as the water washed the sand from her bare feet and looked back to the sea. She knew that she had to make a decision, once and for all.
The girl looked out across the sea, and then back to the hut. She thought she heard movement from inside the flimsy structure. She turned her attention back to the water washing over her feet. How she had missed the sensation of the sea. The girl couldn't help but notice as the last grain of sand was washed away from her toes by the cool water.
She began to walk further out into the sea until the water was to her waist. In the distance, she thought she could hear the sound of the door of the hut opening, followed by the faint sound of the man who had once been such an important part of her life calling out for her. But his voice seemed like a distant memory now. With a sigh, the girl took a deep breath and dove into the water, never looking back to the sandy shore or to the hut that stood where the sea and desert sand met.
Reread Part 1: The Island in the Sea
- The Fable of the Sea and the Desert: Part 1 - The Island in the Sea
The girl from the sea washes ashore on an island and builds a life with the man who built the island, but will she miss the freedom of the sea?
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber