If walls could talk, you would not listen unless you had to.
How can I be so sure?
One has not risen from the centre of the earth in a tectonic and seismic exaltation, stood stoic for three hundred million years through ice ages, through meteoric obliteration, and born witness to unprecedented evolution to be in any doubt of a few pounds of flesh such as you.
You are no more than a grain of sand on my shores, one of a trillion, replaceable and replicable. You are a flea that crawled off a dog, and you are exactly like the last one that was here, the one whose name you call out so pathetically, so wretchedly.
That name rumbles and echoes around my innards like shrapnel from a canon; one not even aimed in my direction. As large as I am, as dense as I am, as grandly as I fill so much of the sky with my mighty cliffs, you barely see me. You scream that name, cry out, and whisper that name only to the sea. The absurdity! You think that the sea talks to you. That its crashing waves rise and fall and shriek in solidarity with your loss, that its days of expansive calm are all-knowing, filled with ripples of whispers, undulating with secrets and answers about your beloved Jennifer.
If only - you cry out. If only you could understand what was being said.
I think you believe that Jennifer is still alive somewhere in the sea. Somehow, you think her human energy flows inside its tides, that the noise of the waves as they crash against these shores contain her voice, calling out to you, returning to you. I think you believe she has entered into the holiest of communion with the sea's briny water. Do you taste her tears in its salty spray?
I often ponder what makes you and your kind listen so carefully to the sea. I muse that its rhythm must feel like music to you. Its incessant growling and humming perhaps are like the chords strummed by your heartstrings. I would lay bets that the sea fills your dreams at night after it has rocked you to sleep.
You are all fools. Fools drowning in your own emotion, unable to see past your own reflection as you gaze only at yourself in the emptiness that is the sea.
The sea no more sees your soul than a looking glass does. It does not speak to you; it merely reflects what you are in what you think it is, like a giant insentient mirror. The sea will never hear your calls. It does not know who Jennifer is or was, or who you are. Nowhere within the depths of its blue brackish waters will you find an empathetic ear listening to your cries. The voice you hear shrieking in its waves and whispering in its ripples is nothing more than the barks and whimpers of a dog obeying its master. The sea hears only the moon. You are nothing to it. It sings no song; it holds no secrets. It rocks you to sleep at night like a pre-programmed metronome. There is no emotion, no music, no story inside its tides. When you talk to the sea, you are in conversation with yourself, nobody else.
I stare at your back every day, at your mournful gait with your sagged shoulders and drooping chin. Rain, hail or shine, I feel you arrive, trudging over my shaggy mane of salty tundra, and sliding down my roughshod shale until you land your rubber-soled shoe on the sand of my beaches as they emerge from the sea's teeth. There, you begin your morbid routine of kicking pieces of me around, mindlessly dragging your feet through my fractured bones until, fleetingly, a fragment of me attracts your attention enough to pick it up. You roll the piece in your hand for a moment; then, absently, you chuck it, chuck me, into the sea like a piece of meat thrown to a dog.
This is the only acknowledgement I get.
She was exactly the same as you, you know. The same routine, here every day, screaming at the sea some days, whispering to it on others, as though it had answers. Randomly throwing parts of me into its ocean abyss like she could cause it some pain. The only difference between you and her is that she called out questions about herself, whereas you seek answers about her.
I am a titan of Serpentine rock, marbled with the richest of earth's colours; lizard greens, slate greys, pervasive purples and dark chocolate browns. Each swirl of me, each layer of my magnificence, is glazed and pregnant, bulging and glistening with stories and secrets that have been laid down over three hundred million years of wide-eyed life and still, despite all that I am, neither you nor she nor any of your kind has ever willingly turned to converse with me.
I am nothing more to you and yours than an interesting pebble to throw from your clammy hand, a fancy stone for a child to adorn its castles of sand or an ornament to be stolen and placed on a bathroom shelf. In years gone by, your mechanical diggers have even taken parts of my heart to lay as slabs on patios to walk on or placed me on top of kitchen cupboards to cut things up on. But, through it all, none of them ever thought to talk with me, to listen to me.
Despite all that I am, I doubt I will ever become any more than a brief cosmetic joy to you and yours. I may contain the stories of our planet and the keys to the universe. I may hold this land upright and intact from the dog that is the sea, but I know that despite all this, you would willingly deconstruct me before you would listen to anything that I may have to say.
Unless, of course, you have no choice but to listen.
Like Jennifer, that last night.
That night she had to listen.
I remember it was around this time last year because the moon was at its boldest, and in celebration of its full spectre glory, it called to the sea to rise from its bed to chew and bite at the heavens. That night the sea followed its master's bidding as immaculately as ever and roared and spat at Jennifer like the hellhound it can be, frothing and lashing out with rage and bile.
Faced by the fury of the sea Jennifer had nowhere else to go. She had to turn. She had to see me, to speak with me.
Help, she cried out repeatedly. Help me!
Wet, bedraggled, and frantic with fear she ran around my skirts, chased by the whip of the wind, looking for sanctuary from the beast she now recognised the sea to be.
Naturally, in response to her cries, I was merciful, and I let her in and held her to my bosom, where she wept, crying out to me, thankful to me.
I was overjoyed. After all these years! I felt a shiver of recognition ripple through my compounded layers, and I felt compelled to try and converse with her. Perhaps, I thought, this was the emotion needed for her, for you, and for yours to finally listen to me; maybe fear could be the bridge between your kind and mine.
I tested out my theory. At first, I tried clicking and creaking, but she just curled into a corner behind one of my boulders and crouched like a silent, trembling mouse. Frustrated, I raised my voice slightly and emitted a low, resonant rumble that filled the cave. I heard her scream out in response. I could barely believe it! The noise filled my core with a joy I did not think was possible. I had been heard! I became excited, and I released around her an almighty, booming avalanche of rock to frighten more conversation from her.
Sadly, she never spoke again, but then, she was only the first to test my theory.
I wonder, will you?
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