|Copyright Lisa Vooght 2011|
Taken aboard the schooner Sultana.
I watch her, high in the rigging, dancing among the lines, framed by a sky so blue that it hurts, about to unleash the canvas which will capture the wind. She is agile and sure; there is no need for me to fear. The one thing I know is that she will not fall unless she chooses to.
“That girl's crazy,” remarks the guy next to me, redolent of fried onions and sunscreen. I know that he is willing her to fall, he's one of those people who watches Nascar hoping for a fiery collision and discusses a hometown tragedy with just the right note of sadness to disguise his vicarious enjoyment of public mourning.
No, crazy is chasing invisible rats with a broom while she crouches in a corner of the bedroom in terror. Crazy is taking a hammer to the stereo receiver because it is sending her messages in the dead of night.
I say nothing, and leave my eyes turned skyward.
Sometimes we climb the old coastal lookout tower, and I watch as she stands on the railing and sways above the sand, arms stretched toward the sea. I don't know why, but the only time she feels secure, whole, happy, is when her ties to this world are as fragile as possible. And nearby the sea, always the sea, it's saline pulse echoing her own.
I feel that same throb when she is next to me, a tender quivering creature who slips in and out of my grasp with fluid grace as the mood takes her.
My parents and friends express the same thoughts and fears. They want to know why I continue to care for her myself, why I don't send her away “for her own good”. It is just a matter of time before she leaves. I should spare myself the pain, the worry, the unpleasantness of catering to her fears and visions, her tempers and her meltdowns, changing soiled clothes and shampooing her hair because she's afraid it's full of snakes.
I watch her, high above me.
The ocean is dark, and deep, and full of mystery. It hides creatures both loathsome and sublime. Stretching to the point where sky meets earth and future meets past, it can lift us to incredible heights and stomach churning lows. It gives life and it takes life; it is life.
And so it is with love.
Word count: 402
Definition: Open Water – water that is unprotected, well-exposed, and influenced by a variety of often dangerous environmental conditions. At quite a distance from shore.
Offered as both a Friday Flash and Romantic Friday Writers post. Comment code is always FCA. Thanks.
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