Driftaway

Caroline Peyron September 19, 2022
Fable
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DRIFTAWAY
(fallen angel)
(the ocean has a way without words)

There once was a girl born in the harsh winter to a mother who perished during childbirth and to a father who one night never made it back home. From Heaven the pair loved their girl stronger than a windstorm, and they mourned for their daughter and her loss of the parents whom she would never know.
She was raised by her mother’s sister, and grew as a sibling to her cousins, though they found her to be rather odd. The girl sat criss-cross at the dinner table, and declined to use a fork. They so often found her asleep on the floor, or on the porch, and only sometimes in the bed where she ought to be. The girl drew swirls and ocean waves as her aunt taught the children arithmetic, and when they took her to church, she often twirled her wild hair around her fingers. Her cousins scoffed at her and her strangeness, and always carried on as if she were not there.

Her hair was blonde static, and her eyes were seaweed. She was thin and nimble as a thief, and so often she stole herself away. The girl escaped her cradle when she first learned to crawl, and her aunt nearly lost her before scooping her from the tide during the early spring. The girl often went to the shore, and skipped her lessons to sit out on the rocks. She sat in the sand and stared down the horizon, and she watched the waves as they danced. If a sailor came gently towards the shore from out over the deep, he might spot her as a ballerina on the coast, dancing and twirling with the ocean waves.

The girl loved the ocean, and the ocean loved her. As she came to watch the tide, the tide came to see the girl, too. It reached the shore and tried to hold her hand, but always it was pulled back home. Try and try, again and again, the ocean reached for the girl whom it loved, but the rock she sat upon was too tall. Sometimes the waves were still just to listen as the girl sang moonsongs and wished upon Heaven’s stars. She believed that her parents were amongst them, catching her wishes with butterfly nets, and she was right indeed. Her mother and her father, hand in hand, wept in Heaven for their girl, who always stood a bit too close to the rock’s edge. They caught her wishes and passed them to God, and they came down from Heaven and sat beside their girl and put their arms of wind and sea-breeze around her. They watched as the ocean became her home, day in and day out, and the stars with them held their breath each time the girl fell to sleep on the rocks, in fear that she might roll into the sea.

It was on a night when she was halfway a child and halfway a woman that the girl sat criss-cross on her rock, weeping. She had endured enough difference, enough ridicule, enough loneliness. The world was too heavy for her to hold, and she had no one but herself to cry on. She wept and wept, and the ocean wept its own salty tears for the girl whom it loved, and Heaven wept, too, and the rain came down like fallen prayers. As the storm brewed above, and the sea raged below, tossing and turning and waking from its sleep, the girl gazed into the heart of the sea. She felt Heaven’s eyes upon her, and she heard the ocean mourn beside her. She knew for the first time that she had been loved all along, just as she had loved the ocean. She did not feel as alone anymore. The girl stood barefoot and bold against the storm of the sky, and with longing she looked into the sea. Amongst the falling rain of prayers she sent out her own, not up towards Heaven, but straight down into the depths. The girl’s mother and father in Heaven never wept so hard, for they stood beside the girl on the rocks but they could not hold her back. Their daughter reached out her hand, and the waters that had loved her more than the world ever would, finally held it. As the tide reaches the shore and is each time snatched away, at last the ocean took its love home.

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