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Child of the Wind and the Sea
She is a child of the wind and the sea and more beautiful than the stars. Her hair is as black as night and her eyes are as deep and impenetrable as the blue waters.
She lives on land but her soul is hidden in the depths of the boundless oceans.
She glides through the waters. Her fins go before her, dividing the sea. She breathes the water and the cool waves carry her body. Her heart beats quickly but her breathing is slow and even. She flops onto the wet sand and looks up at the sky. She sees where it meets the water on the horizon, the line almost indistinguishable, grey meeting grey.
Slowly, she pulls her human arms out of her seal skin, separating her body from itself. She pulls her fingers apart from their webbed shape, and wrings out her long hair. Then the rain comes, moments after the wind washes over the land, falling like tears on her. Salty brine washes up on her face as the tide rises. The beach is empty and bleak. She is alone. She pulls her skin over herself for warmth, the heat of her blood still in it. She lies there staring out over the waters and has only one thought-
I am a selkie.
She wakes with a start to find her pillow is soaked with salty tears and she goes to her window, to find that it is still night outside. Then she is quiet, listening to the water lapping up on the shore. After a while, she goes down to the water and lets it touch her feet, savoring the coolness of it on her feverishly warm body. She is never cool enough, not now that she cannot swim in the waters. She tortures herself with this wading because that is as far as she can go. She can never roam the waters again, going far into the depths of the unexplored worlds below the surface. Not now that her skin is gone. Whether lost or burned, it matters not. It is gone.
She lies there and soaks the sand with her tears. At last she sleeps there, curled up, a tiny speck on the wide beach.
When she wakes again, the world is sparkling in the pink of dawn and she rises fluidly, her graceful movements belying her human body. She walks up and down the shore now, back and forth, as she was used to do when he first left, for she finds the old hurt in her chest is bleeding again and the pain is as if it was new.
She remembers the day well, when she first paced this beach, when her brow first met a frown. Her eyes turn grey-green as she slips into the memory…
He is standing on the shore, his ship ready to leave. He holds her skin and tells her that he will come back soon, that the skin is a token of her love for him. She believes him, tells him she will miss him every day he is gone, tells him to come home soon. She sees his ship sailing off, she stands alone on the shore, even after the ship has faded into the blueness far away. For a while, she remembers, she thought tomorrow he would come home. But he never did.
Now she stands and for a moment entertains the possibility that he will come home tomorrow. It feels nice, like slipping into an old pair of shoes, and for few moments it feels sweet in her heart. Then it feels repulsive and with a little gasp she lets go of it. He will not come back, she knows it now. And even if he did? She tries to remember what it felt like to swim in the waters, but she cannot. She falls to the ground, trying to feel it, but it has disappeared from her heart.
Then she remembers: it was this day seven years ago that he left. Seven tears and seven years. She has died without dying. She is no longer a selkie.
She tries to comprehend it but she cannot. It shapes her, drives her. What is she without it?
The water rises around her but she cares not. She lies flat, her eyes closed, letting the waters comfort her and give her a bit of what she has lost. She lies there until sunset, silent as the cold moon. Then as the sun dips onto the horizon, she rises. Her gown is wet and her face is cold and set.
She turns her back on the sea and walks away from the water, far away.
After a few minutes, the sea laps onto the shore again and her footprints disappear.