I woke up. It’s hard to say what it was that woke me up, because it all happened so fast. That moment when reality washes over you. The sound of birds flying over your head. Seagulls screaming for the daily feed. Swooping down over you ever so closely. Wondering if they will ever get close enough to take a bite at you with their pointed beaks. All there needs is one swoop close enough to my skin to grab a healthy chunk of flesh. Was it the sound of the waves crashing all around me? Licking at my feet. Was it the coldness of the water as it tickled my heels? Was it the sinking feeling as the sand moistened and sucked me deeper into it’s calm? Was it the figure standing over my head encased in a black cloak where all light refused him? Was it the sun above his head that cast a shadow over my eyes so I could better see his face, or the lack thereof?
So many questions in that moment. But clarity would not come quickly. He stands there ever so still. Waiting for me to make the first movement. A seagull swooshes nearer my leg. Flys away. Squawking. Shrieking and joining the others above.
I raise my head and look down to my legs. They are there, but I cannot move them. I can feel them, but they refuse to follow my signal to stand. My arms refuse to cover my breasts as I realise I am fully naked in the sand. It’s as if my entire body has refused to listen to my will anymore. Though I do not panic. I decide to lay my head back down into the shade of my companion as he stands above me still. Not making a sound. Just waiting for me to speak. So I do.
“Why have you come here?” I ask him.
“You know why.” he whispers. His voice barely audible above the shrilling birds and the shore.
“Why am I here?” I ask.
“You know why.” he reminds me and resumes to his silent vigil.
“If you are to take me, then why not just take me now?” I ask as a single tear breaks free from my socket and falls down my cheek.
He walks around to my side to stand beside my arm. His cloak floats in the direction of where he came and whips around with the direction of the wind. The sun is no longer directly above him so his face is no longer encased in blackness, though his eyes will never be known to me. They are simply sockets where eyes once lived. Though I can’t imagine he would ever know what living might have felt like.
I’m not afraid.
“Will you forgive me?” I barely make the words out past my lips. The strain of each syllable needs to come from my tongue because my voice is hiding somewhere else. My tongue slaps out each thought through my teeth, lashing each letter against the next to form words upon words to make a sentence. Another tear trickles down my cheek.
“You do not need to cry. I am not here to forgive.” he responds. The birds above him have flown away at this instant. Afraid of his presence. Afraid of my salty tears. And they do flow. And they do sound like the tide as it thrashes against the sand. And my throat does swell and tighten. And my heart does break.
He tells the sun to lower into the abyss with a wave of his bone hand. The sky goes dark and the stars go bright. The water calms and grows to a stillness. No sound. No movement. No heat from the sun. No birds. Not anything. Just the silhuett, the sand underneath, and me. I no longer weep. There are no longer words to say. No thoughts needing to be thought. No history to rehash. No embraces or forgiveness. Just this moment. When clarity is above us. It is time to move on. And in that moment he is gone. And in that moment I am there. Naked and new in the darkness. Where no one cries and no one tells me which way to go from here. And it is peace.