Many nights I sit on the banks of the shore at high tide to listen to the waves as if they are train tracks echoing a return. I sit and wait for the empty indigo pages to be written upon again. When he will come home to me. Finally, the hypnotic, crashing waves will send an echo, bring his ship back.
I sit and wait and the tide goes out again. A sandbar of smallest pools, microcosms of algae, mermaid purses, barnacles, crab. If I were a painter, I would bring my easel and capture my own longing. If a harpist, my melody would beckon him.
I try to remember, but I have forgotten–the contours of his regal nose and strong jawline, the way his eyebrows arched when he was amused. The drawn look when he didn’t know himself any longer and paced the floor studying the exposed nails.
He was my eagle, my sun, first star of a short winter afternoon, the last daffodil.
His calloused hands touching my tangled hair in the morning when the sun crawled up through the window and found us. Entwined, lost in a faraway place, neither alone anymore, sharing the island. Until the routine of the day commenced again. The kettle, the fog.
Yes, he was my quarry of sun-kissed stones, my castle of stone. His moat filled with turquoise skies, exquisite emeralds.
I had loved him immediately. The pull of my stomach, my eyes, my awkward arms. When he first gazed upon me, he locked my moss eyes, and his face fell back into his lost boyhood. He was both far away and more present than he had been in years, he said. But it hurt.
The sage and rosemary I had been saving for him in carnival glass have withered. I am so sorry. About everything. What transpired before his journey into his sextant of constellations of faraway stars that don’t include me. Rooms of men and talk of war.
When the tide comes in again, I will return to my silk skin. There will be a requisite knock on my door, I imagine. A stranger delivering news of a lost ship, no remains. A shudder, no. The gods do not hate me any longer. I have given them my greatest gifts.
It has been three hundred and twenty-three days since he left on his ship of mirrors and gold. Three hundred and twenty-three days without music.