Her raspy voice pleads with me as she points her finger to my heart and waves her hand as if to shoo me away. Every word is bitter to my ears.

“Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

And I know what Old Maryn is asking of me.

To walk into the waves and lower my whole body into the water. To walk until I cannot touch the ocean floor. To go where I do not want to go. To be where my flower dress falls apart. To exist where I have never wanted to exist. To turn away from the Island I have made.

“Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

Her rasps come repeatedly. It’s all she can say—all she is willing to say. I ask her why. I scream at her. My voice is anger and fear combined. Still all I hear is Old Maryn rasping constantly,

“Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

I run from the meadow. Dead geraniums fall from the sky and into my skin. I cut my feet on rocks as I go. I return to my house built securely in the trees. Echoes break as soon as I begin climbing toward comfort.

Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

A fire consumes the entirety of my house instantly. All that’s familiar burns with it. I watch the structure splinter apart but instead of ash, it lands in a pile of dead geranium petals. My azalea dress is wearing thin, and I’ve barely worn it at all. The destruction piles around me and mounts high like a skyrise.

I have no control, and I cannot avoid Old Maryn’s whispers still echoing in my ear.

“Go to the ocean. Go to the ocean.”
“Into the ocean. Into the ocean.”

But I don’t want to go. I don’t want to fall apart. I don’t want to go where I cannot touch the floor. I don’t want to go into a place of mysterious and inexperienced chaos. I fall on my knees. I will stay here. I grasp the shoreline sand. If I let the waves brush over my feet then it might be enough to keep me safe, to keep me on this Island.

I see her then.

Young Maryn.

The part of me I have already been.

She holds a geranium, but this one’s alive. It looks nothing like the ones outlining Old Maryn. This geranium must be the last living thing on the Island. Young Maryn whispers three simple words—louder than the echoes and louder than my own thoughts.

She pleads, “Please, please go.”

I notice her dandelion seeds have drifted away. Perhaps, by the force of the storm. Perhaps, because she truly wishes me to walk into the waves. She cradles the last living geranium to her chest.

It’s all she has left, but she walks to Ocean and sets it loose on the lapping waves.

“No!” I scream and run to the water, but the flower is already out of reach.

I scream again.

I yell at Young Maryn over and over, but see she has disappeared too. My heart plummets. My soul sinks. The geranium is floating on the soft waves—the only gentle place of this entire Island now.

I am the barest form of me now, and the only sign of life floats into the expanse of unexpected things. Dead flower petals have swept around me. I am clothed in the ugliest garment I have ever worn. It crinkles against my skin and makes me want to jump out of it.

I brace myself for the soft Ocean waves, and feel the smallest sense of relief when it washes against my ankles. I don’t want to be here, and I never wanted a dress like this, but the last living thing is barely in sight and I know I must go now.

The water swirls around my waist and my hands trail along the deepest shade of blue. My heart lurches in my chest. I feel suffocated and free. I feel scared and brave. I feel nothing at all.

My chin hits the surface of the water. My bleeding feet can barely touch the Ocean floor now. One more step forward. I take it. But I sink. I am overcome by every unwanted emotion pushing against my body. My dress of dead things hangs loose and soggy. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. Ocean.

Ocean is a season.

How long does Ocean last? How do I get out? I was forced in by destruction and sorrow and hope. I stay encased beneath the water for hours. Drowning forever. My feet have yet to touch the bottom. There’s got to be more than this. I force my hands above my head in one last desperate cry for help.

I feel something strange like Grace grab hold, and I’m pulled above the surface. A glimpse. A rescue. I open my eyes to sunrise. To wide expanse, to bright blue water, to dead flowers, to still here. My heart breaks but the weight of Ocean keeps it inside my chest somehow. Still here. Still here. Still here.

I expect silence to be my companion forever. I force all my broken-heart pieces to receive this crushed and terrifying life. I get into a position to become the pain, and then I hear her.

“I’m Aneta.”

The unfamiliar voice shocks me and punches vulnerability into the pit of my stomach. I look to the left side of me, and see a woman bobbing up and down in the Ocean with me. Innately I know she wasn’t the Grace that hoisted me to the surface, but she is someone. She looks like an expression of joy and light.

I thought this Ocean belonged to me.

But Aneta is here. Aneta is right beside me.

Copyright © 2019 Sierra V. Fedorko, All rights reserved.

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