Disclaimer: Pirates of the Caribbean and all associated characters, plotlines, etc. that you see here do not belong to me. They are the intellectual property of Disney and…other folks. I'm just playing in the multi-million dollar, swashbuckling sandbox for a bit.
I have no idea where this plotless little piece of…rambling came from, but one day, Elizabeth just decided to start telling me about where she was twenty years from the day she was left on the island guarding Will's heart. Hope you enjoy!
Written for Rowena Devandal's One Thousand Words or Less Challenge: October
One More Day
It has been nine years, three hundred sixty four days, and one sunset since I saw him last.
I was counting.
Nine years, three hundred sixty four days, and one sunset was a long time…for me. For too long, I have survived on but the memories of two days of wedded bliss and the many torturous, fear-ridden days that came before. Too long. And for what? Two, maybe three more rare days with my love?
Cannot bear it. Not enough.
Twenty years ago, with the metallic clang of a hundred swords just barely piercing the torrential downpour of a tropical maelstrom, I never would have dreamt that those vows bought me so little time with my husband, my Will. I, not unlike Jack Sparrow, envisioned myself at the wheel of a ship for eternity. There was only one major difference between mine and Captain Sparrow's fantasies:
In mine, Will stood behind me with his arms wrapped tightly about my shoulders.
Oh, Will. Time is not so precious for you. Time is something of which you have shiploads.
Time is what I am running out of.
It was never so real, time's fervid escape from my clutches, as the day little William—my son, my only, nineteen now, not so little anymore—tugged on my skirts and said, "Mama, why is your hair turning grey?"
"Grey?" I asked, laughing nervously. My hair, turning grey? "Nonsense, William. My hair is yellow."
Not grey, grey means age, grey means less time.
"No, Mama. It is grey, like rainclouds." He scurried down the hall in our humble little cabin into our bedroom, where a mirror that Jack had brought to us hung on the wall, and retrieved it. He pulled his hand into his sleeve and wiped it with care, his face full of dire, life-or-death concentration for want of not dropping the treasured looking glass pilfered from Lord-knew-where.
So intense, just like Will hammering upon his swords.
Ever-so-carefully, William placed the mirror in my lap. "Why is your hair turning grey?" I raised the mirror to eye level…and nearly dropped it. There were streaks of a silvery color tingeing the yellow I had always been used to seeing in my reflection, streaks I had never noticed because I saw no need in spending time before a mirror.
Saw no need, my inner voice asked, or was too scared of the truth?
"Mama?" William's voice made me jump.
My mouth opened and closed, and finally, I made some excuse about needing some air. The fact that I had not answered my own son, my world, was the least of my worries.
Time was slipping away.
It was an innocent enough question, coming from an eleven-year-old who had hardly seen any of the world outside our little island. Why was my hair turning grey?
No time, death creeping closer, cannot do a thing…
As I stood on the eastern shore waiting on the sunrise, somehow my mind kept going back to that day, the day that time finally caught up with me. Our island was a surreal little world, a world within worlds. Time was not measured in hours or minutes, here. Time was measured in how long until Will came back...and a cruel measurement, I discovered that day, it was. It was all I longed for, and yet, I dreaded each passing day from then on. What would Will see when next he stepped upon the sands of the eastern shore? An old woman? A would-be, should-be spinster? Would he see his wife at all, within the elderly matron?
Loves me. He loves me, no matter what.
Part of me—a surprisingly dominant part, actually—wanted to turn and run. I feared his reaction, his disappointment.
He would never falter. I am his Elizabeth, yellow or grey-haired.
I wanted so desperately to believe he would never flinch away from me, and yet something in me did not allow me the pleasure. With me in its grasp, waiting on the beach for my Will, it clung steadfast to the fear he would not accept how much I had aged.
Flash. The green I'd been yearning for and fearing shot across the horizon. The ship whose every line I had etched into my memory materialized, and a longboat soon appeared next to it.
Will, my Will, he came back.
I did not wave; I stared. I strained my eyes waiting for his features to become more distinct, to morph into the man I loved so dearly. Then, when finally I could make out a smile on Will's lips, my legs moved me forward. My bare feet sank into the wet sand beneath the Caribbean's waves, and I did not stop moving until I was knee-deep. He grew closer, closer, and before I knew it, the boat was even with me.
An old woman, grey, wrinkled, not his love.
He jumped from the boat and swept me into his arms, kissing me as if we'd been apart for a century.
Ten years, century…all feels the same…
And then, some century later, he looked into my eyes…and I knew—knew, but did not fully comprehend—that my hair could be as white as the lazy clouds above us and he could not care for me any less. Twenty years' separation, save a day in-between decades, meant nothing. What mattered was that he was holding me, that he was on land…and all within our combined mortal and immortal worlds…was right.
If only for one more day.
Well! Kudos if you got Elizabeth's point; I sure didn't. Reviews are appreciated.—MJ-Skywalker