The Call of the Sea

         I’m considering to enter this into a super short story contest. . .

 

            She held onto his fingers with the tips of her own, unwilling to let go, unwilling to hold on. The soft morning breeze played with his dark hair, but he wore the look of a young man caught between two loves. Who am I to make him choose?

            The sea called him. Its waves sang his name in the hush of foam kissing the shore.  Salt on his skin invigorated him. He only felt steady with the water beneath him.

            She hated the ocean. It took her father when she was seven, and she never forgave it. That grey mass of never ending motion was a giant monster, ready to pull another victim beneath its waves.

            Yet they loved each other. She could remember the schoolyard as children, holding hands after church, and stealing kisses in the apple orchard. A half of her whole, she couldn’t imagine a life without him.

            Her fingers tightened. He gaze met hers, a question in his eyes. He, quiet unfairly, gave her the choice. “Should I leave on the Rosemary? The First Mate offered me a job. Or do you want me to stay? I’ll stay for you.”

            He came to her island town as an orphan. His father never cared, as he put it, and his mother went to God.  The island took care of him until he became a man. Work became scarce, since he only knew the sea, but he stayed for her, for their future. A marriage for love, not prospects, he proposed. No one imagined she would want that, until she met him.

            She could never live a sea life with him. As a proper lady, she wanted a home and children, to never lave this island and be buried in her family lot. He loved to travel and wanted to follow the paths of the sea. Could he be happy with the life I want?

            She searched his face and found the sea living in his grey-blue eyes.

            She pulled her hand away. “Will you ever return?”

            Confusion, and pain flickered across his face. “Do you want me to?”

            She smiled and nearly took his hand again. “If the sea every quiets in your heart, come back to me.”

            “My dear, what of you? What if it takes me twenty years to tire of the sea? I can’t expect you to wait forever.”

            “No, you can’t. But today, my heart it yours.”

            He reached out and brushed his fingers against her cheek. “Until tomorrow then.” He turned and walked away. The morning mist rose up and envelop him, turning him in a shadow, then swallowing even that.

            She watched, feeling heavy and free. A single tear fell down her face.

            The sun peaked into the sky, turning the world pink. She looked up and smiled. “Tomorrow then.”

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