creation · good reads · nature

The Island

The eerie whistling of young black noddies are the only sound of music to her ears. As the sun starts to descend slowly in the vast of blue, the woman begins to mourn for another night of lonesomeness. During the day, under the hot and scorching sun, she finds company in the small, naughty birds that peck her every time she tries to take a nap in the sand. These are the same birds that annoy her every afternoon when she quenches her thirst with young coconuts she feasts on. Isolation does bring some big changes to one’s being. As she was not fond of animals before, now she trades noises with the birds that come and go in the island as if these creatures were her neighbors.

Moving her feet until they touch the water, the woman bites her lip at this painful sensation. Strange, she is still not used to every splash and every wave she encounters– not that she is to blamed for feeling like this. She wades a little farther and when the water is nearly above her thighs, she pushes herself to the level of her feet, her eyes stinging as she tinkers with some rope and pieces of cloth– or what is left of her clothes. She has them attached to the two heavy pillars of wood she has buried in the sand. She unbinds the cloth from the wood and proceeds to come ashore. Four small fish greet her sight.

“Better than nothing,” the woman murmured. It is better indeed than to eat washed-up seaweed and feel its slimy and squishy texture inside the mouth. The woman begins to build a small fire using dried coconut branches and fronds. She does this with little struggle, her calloused hands rub against the edge of the branches. The noddies hop and hover curiously toward the glowing fire. One snaps at her while she jabs the fish with a long twig. “Shoo!” she snarls at them. “Go get your own fish!”

Cooking her dinner doesn’t take long. So does eating it. It isn’t enough to ease her stomach and she knows it. But like she always tells herself, it is better to have something– whatever it is, than to sleep with nothing but emptiness and ache. The sun finally sinks, the dark blanket takes over the sky and the noddies retreat to the trees far away from the beach. The woman sits by the dying fire, licking the stick she used to impale her food. She pulls her legs closer to her chest, her hands giving them warmth while her hair rests on her shoulders and back. She hesitates at first, but soon rests her eyes over the horizon. The stars are not out yet and the moon is wrapped in haze, which makes her quite sad. There is nothing else to see above, so she gazes upon the water and watches the waves crash calmly against the rocks and sand. The night lingers so peacefully more than she expects. She silently waits for the heavier clouds to arrive with the rain. The worse thing than being bare and stuck in an island is being bare and stuck in an island in the middle of an angry storm with leaves as the only shelter and comfort. She knows it. But something inside her longs for nature’s wrath to sweep her instead– for the never-ending rain to wet and soak her to the bone than to sleep while drenched in her own cries. She finds the pain of her limbs more acceptable than the pain of her heart.

The night fails her, however. It remains as it is– placid, almost uninteresting. No sign of storm coming her way, yet the stars haven’t come out. The woman now lies in the sand, limbs sprawled out. A few bugs itch and nibble on her skin, but she cares less. The bites hardly bother her. Her mouth hangs open for air, she is under her own trance for her eyes skim not upon the sky, her ears become deaf from the ocean waves. She is alone, but alone in another world only she can see. A voice calls her, causing her to turn her head to its direction. She is lifted from the ground, away from the embers and into the water she walks closer. The moment her trembling feet meet the edge of the waves, the threshold to her world opens.

She is greeted by the furious wind which sends her back on her knees. The heavens pour and the lightning flashes before her. She looks around but sees nothing. Her own world finally blinds her. She crawls, her hands reaching out to touch any surface they can find, with the wet ground her only guide. The thunder roars and she flinches and screams every time. The waves become untamed and violent. They make their way to her and flog her as she kneels helplessly and cries. She knows that it is only a matter of time before the sea swallows her, so her hands clutch the rocks and cling for her life. She holds so tightly that the rocks start to cut her flesh. She can only writhe in pain but she holds tighter. The torment goes on. She tries to open her eyes in an attempt to see, but the splash of the bitter saltwater stops her. Her wails echo through the island.

To her surprise, the waves take her to the shallow. She can feel the sand at last, and she gasps for air. Still breathing, she slowly opens her eyes, her body in indescribable torture, cuts and scratches surround her. The sea is still in rampage but she is out of the water. She struggles to stand and falls back to the ground after several nimble steps. She calls to the water, she wails. She wants to be heard. The woman reaches a boulder which the waves fail to drown. A figure lies with its face buried in the sand, its wilted hands and feet rest lowly. The woman falls on her knees again, sobbing, as she crawls toward the motionless body. She envelopes the cold figure with her embrace, her fingers brushing off the muddy sand from its face. The eyes are sunken, the lips are still yet she kisses them with vigor. She kisses him again and weeps until her tears fall down on his lifeless facade. She kisses him one last time and lets him go. Sliding back to the shallows, the water takes him for good. The woman watches the body drift to the middle of the now-appeased waves, she watches the water imprison him for all eternity.

The woman wakes up to the sound of the noddies hunting in midday. She rises, alive and well, though she feels differently. She looks around her and sees no trace of yesternight’s chastise. The remains of her fire are intact, the two pillars of her fish trap are still in place. Her skins bears no wounds nor scratches. Everything is the way it is supposed to be. There is no sign of the raging ocean that haunts her dreams, but she keeps seeing the face she lost in that tragic night. She tells herself it is only a dream, and she reluctantly dips her legs in the water for a bath. She feels a pang in her abdomen as she wades through the cool water. She ought to check her trap for lunch but she moves way past the two pillars of her make-shift net. She forgets about the hunger she feels and gives in to the peace and tranquility the big blue offers her. The woman smiles for the first time, she has never felt this comfort since she thought she has lost everything in the island. She has not lost everything, that she knows. The sea is so welcoming, so soothing. What is found under is even more beautiful. The bed of kelp underneath tickles her feet, the fish living among the colored rocks and pebbles swim away in her every stroke. She delves deeper and shouts in glee, blowing bubbles of her breath. Her eyes become numb at the salty water, all she sees is the clear crystal perfection. The sun’s rays reflect on the sapphire surface, the light that reminds her of the life she once had above. Her feet lose touch of the grassy seafloor, her arms caressing the undertow that takes her beyond. From the azure flow, she sinks into the lightless blue abyss. No more, she despises the ocean that took her love. She embraces it as it embraces her. She ceases moving, even breathing. She speaks of his name in her very last breath, and puts on a smile. Back in the island, her own world was immersed in darkness and sorrow, but the world she is in is very much alive. She is lost forever, but she is lost in paradise.


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