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home, hope, harbour.

by savera s 5 months ago in coping
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a short story inspired by harry styles' 'adore you' music video.

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Among all the tumultuous tides in all the seas in all the world, there had never been a land quite like the Isle of Arevas. The somber horizon that lost itself in the ceaseless greys of its surrounding seas was a wondrous yet unappreciated sight, made evident through infrequent visitors’ appraising eyes. Arevas was all but inhabitable, left only to those that welcomed the piercing cold- or at the very least, made grave efforts to adapt to it. There were few that called it home, instead serving as an unwelcoming port for wandering landlubbers desperate to drift off the seas.

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No home. No hope. No harbor.

The sea was vast yet lonesome, conducting its own stirring, seething symphony. The surrounding cliffs attempted to silence its crescendo, muting its song to a metronomic murmur. A current of chilling electricity travelled from the waves to the cliff’s edge, where she sat on a ledge alongside a sack teeming with nothing but glass jars. She gripped one firmly in her hand, altogether untrusting of her own strength, and twisted the lid open. It was empty, as were they all. Trembling, she brought it to her mouth, parted her grey-blue lips, which gained their pigment almost directly from the distinct overcast cloak on the Isle of Arevas, and screamed into the jar. It was an unmistakable roar of agony- one which the wind favoured- that was carried far by the palpitating pulse of the sea. Unbeknownst of its travel, she immediately slammed the last jar shut, twisting it closed in an attempt to release her anguish; to capture it, to look it in the eye, and to know it no longer existed within her. The release of this piercing anguish, however, left her with nothing but numbness- and in some ways, that was worse. There was nothing to mend, no bounds for healing. Once agitated with violently contending emotions, a hollowness now caved into her spirit, the memory of feeling sinking into a soulless abyss within her.

Languid had not been a term one would have used to describe her, but there she stood, kneeling on one shaky knee over the rocky shore, fingers tightly clasped around the rock- one amongst many, it seemed- that she inconsolably placed in her pocket. The scream-filled jars now slumbered on the ledge, to which she turned one last time, vexed at their inability to provide the catharsis she craved. She might have been heard, sure, but was she remembered? Had her screams reached a traveller? Had she closed the jars in time to contain them?

The dainty, flowing dress that had once waltzed with the wind appeared tattered and heavy, with far more sinking weights than that of the rocks that it now bore. With every roaring tide, droplets of hope painted a mosaic on her dress, with the ephemeral stains that remained revealing glimmers of hope. Ones that, unfortunately, did not linger long enough. Her initially staggered, repentant steps became quick and definite as she disappeared further into the sea, alas rendering her no more than a setting sun in a child’s painting of a cloud-ridden horizon.

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A valiant sailor, however, sees not through the eyes, but through the wind. One need not be at sea to be a sailor. There exists a sailor within each soul, overflowing with the curiosity of exploring what lies beyond- beyond the walls, the land, the sea, the self. In the midst of a soundless breeze, scarcely louder than a whisper, the faint howling echoes a distant scream. An isolated scream with which the clouds grow darker, the wind colder and the waves more violent. A scream that beckons a sailor to batten down the hatches, bear away and venture out to the Isle of Arevas.

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His boat had a way of catching the sunlight that broke through the cloud cover on the Isle of Arevas every bit as much as its howling winds. Its sails broke the swelling sea waves with a bobbing motion, white water cresting at its bows.

A disheveled and distraught figure emerged between the tides. The body- a woman- fell hopelessly beneath the seemingly unforgiving waves, with each interval between her aching gasps for air increasingly further apart. Each breath shorter, the anticipation of surfacing diminishing with every sinking current. She strained for the light that dimmed above, the very light that the boat’s sails caught.

She realised, in that moment, that it was not her body she wished to drown but the grief within her soul.

And yet, how was one to be kept afloat without the other?

Body.

Trapped, pounding, swirling.

Soul.

Longing. Like never before.

As the thrashing tides tossed her lifeless frame, the winds screamed to her, howling for her to escape. In its roars, she heard the voices of her drowning father and husband. A constant stream of rhythmic memories appeared and disappeared as quickly as the ceaselessly fleeting sky above, settling a calmness on her spirit. She opened her eyes, desperate for a glimpse of something- someone- that was alive.

Alas, there it was.

The sea.

Once she surrendered to its demands, she was stunned by the true strength of its serenity. It was alive in a way that she never had been, and never could be.

The voice of the sea was seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.

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In a sudden shift, the furious, surging waves of the sea now moved as a mother, protective and powerful in plunging her towards the boat’s hull. It was as though her soul, too, had entered the water, with an innate desire to live so great that it rose upward, hoisting her onto the pulpit as she choked up water on the deck. The voices of her father and husband drifted off into the gray expanse of the sea, yet the hopeful words she had spent decades yearning to hear remained deep within her.

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.

And indeed, the voice of the soul had spoken to the sea.

No home, hope and a harbor.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------She still felt the general strain of the water hours, days, weeks after the sailor had cautiously returned her to the Isle of Arevas. She now understood why the island seldom received any visitors: it was not the sea, nor the weather, nor the distance- it was a similitude that united the masses- the fear of being truly alone.

Home, hope and a harbor.

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coping

About the author

savera s

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