A Love Deeper than the Sea
The sea is deep, as is my love. It resounds throughout my frail body, pooling in my chest and drowning my piteous heart in the waves that dash against my pale, trembling breast. The rhythm of the frothing waves compels me, in its steady pulse, to remind me of the pulse of my own dear love, who once lived, who once loved me. It was an anchovy, and it was ripped from my loving bosom by the jaws of cruel death; its meagre carcass thrown back into the detestable, turgid waters, the same waters that had, at the beginning, brought it to me...
I found you on the shores of Aberystwyth, beneath the scorching gaze of the midday sun. There I learnt to love you, writhing and gasping for your fading life. Others would have found you insignificant, a trifle, a putrid pizza topping to be thrown away, but I alone saw your stark beauty. You, dear anchovy, were like a little gem on the shores of a silver sea, a diamond in the rough who shone only to those with eyes to look beyond the limitations of our earthly bodies, and bask in the warmth of the soul within. Yes, the shimmering light within you made even the blaze of the sun seem feeble and pale, and I would have been content to shelter in its glow forever. Or so it should have been, were it not for my human weakness, that strange thirst for adventure with which the peaceful mind of the fish has never been plagued.
Yes, I wish now with all my heart that the ship had not come, enticing me with its promises of adventure and fulfilment upon the rolling blue depths of the sea, tempting me away from that idyllic life upon the shore with you, my dearest love. But the ship came nonetheless, and I was compelled to leave with it, my mind clouded by foolish dreams and bootless desires.
You, for your small, sad part, knew better; you pleaded with me not to waste my life, my youth, on such a fool's venture. And my mind grew dark and savage with a baseless anger; and even as my heart ached with love for you, I struck you down, there upon the callous shore, with the very hands that caressed your scales glimmering like the hopes of joy i had forsaken when I realised I must slay you for the greater good.
But it brought no good, no comfort, no hope. There you lay, cold and rotten, those paper-thin scales tinged with sickly green and peeling off, gathering to form a lurid garden of what had been your armour. Even then, I knew that I would never feel joy or love again, that my soul had become a wasteland as desolate and lifeless as the sand beneath my feet, stretching away into a bleak infinity. Pterodactyls circled, shrieking like the demons of hell, above my bowed head as I trembled with grief and fear, as I crossed the shore and boarded that fateful, thrice-damned ship that would take me away to lands unknown.
I spent not a moment on that vessel that I did not contemplate leaping over the side, to rejoin whatever immortal part of your being might swim amidst the waves once more. But that ugly man, that revolting fellow called Jack, thought that he could save me, salvage my wretched soul from its pitiable state; he thought, perhaps, that he could replace you. But he knew nothing of you, of what you truly were to me, and in his blindness he thought he held a cure for my sorrow, when the only balm for my agony would have been to obey the urgings of my better half, and throw myself into the waiting vault of the sea, the greatest and deepest of graves.
Jack, too, died, less than a week later, and I could not mourn him. Though I watched his body sink below the ocean's glassy surface (where, perhaps, some part of you remains), I never grieved for him. My heart held no more warmth or feeling than a garden in the grip of winter, all dust and lifeless branches laden with the weight of snow and memories.
With the years, I returned to my home, now with another weight to bear upon my weak and weary shoulders– a child, a daughter, the only lasting memory of Jack that I would ever have. Oh, anchovy, you would have loved her, loved the sparkle in her wide blue eyes, so like the gleam of the sun upon your scales, and loved the colour of those innocent orbs themselves, as deep and rich as the water that was your home.
Winifred, like me, discovered the joys of the sea almost from the moment of her birth, and I had no more power to stop her wandering along the shore on some journey of exploration than to hold back the tides themselves. On one fateful day, she discovered, on the very spot where I had found you, and where your tiny bones now lie beneath the sand, another creature of the sea whose watery allure ensnared her young, innocent heart. It was a sea urchin, a fine, prickly fellow, whose proud barbs and spines even pierced my own heart, as bitter, loveless, and forgotten as I was.
She picked up her new love and cradled him to her childish bosom, and I wanted to cry out, to stop her in any way I could, to save her from the ghastly fate that had been my own. Mortal woman can never hope to truly find bliss; the paradise of the love shared with marine life is forever closed to our kind. And so I stood by, a silent, powerless witness to the bond now forged between poor Winifred and that monstrous, scheming sea urchin. She was so delicately unaware of the chains that would tether her to its fiendish demands, enslave her to its jagged, cruel beauty.
Anchovy, twelve years have passed since we parted- twelve long years fraught with cold despair and the restless yearning of the sad winds that howled in my hollow chest. Twelve endless years separate us, yet tether us to our mutual unknowing of what could have been, if only I had not been so thoughtless as to end your blessed life with one barbaric strike.
I had perfection in my grasp, and I cast it down and slaughtered it, on virgin sands that were made impure with your blood– yes, even on those same sands where I had once loved you with every fibre of my being. I can only hope that my daughter, who now adores a different breed of the many children of the sea, shall be free of whatever latent madness lurked within my soul.