Unshaken

Scenario: A young Lisa struggles through some of her own doubts and fears until a chance encounter with the goddess of the sea herself.

Rating: T

Author's Note: I received Ponyo for my birthday and I watched it nearly three times simultaneously – lol =) I liked the idea of Linda meeting Grandmammare before Sosuke was born. Enjoy =)

o0o

She stares at the faded spot on the carpet, wishing somehow that she can disappear into the thread-bare blue. She feels like she's falling through an endless tunnel with no-one to catch her... but then whoever said relationships were easy...? She remembers the tight smile and the guilt, the down-cast eyes, the way time seemed to hang suspended when he left her... and she can't forgive him... not yet...

Damn him, for not telling her!

She somehow knew it'd be like this from the beginning... Her parents had warned her about marrying Koichi but she'd taken it all in her stride as she did everything else, rambunctious, energy-filled and completely capable. Maybe she fell in love with him because he reminded her of the sea; wild, free and unfettered yet somehow stable enough for her to hold onto... And yet here she is... alone... in an empty house. He's told her he loves her, a thousand times over, and yet she can't quite bring herself to believe it.

Especially now...

She's always been the strong one, the free-willed one... the eldest of her siblings, capable yet vulnerable... But being alone for days on end does something to you. She's ignored all the phone calls from her parents and she knows they're worried about her... And now, as distorted shadows swarm over the house, lurking in corners and forcing her into the pool of light in the middle of the lounge room floor she wraps her arms around her stomach, blinking back silly tears. Tears for the life inside her... for the fact that he promised he'd be here and he isn't, for the cravings, fear of the unknown... and the loneliness...

That he may not even come back...

The fact that he doesn't even know...

Dizzy, she picks herself up and leans against the glass-paned window, watching as the sky-line bleeds into the sea and the waves churn restlessly like a living monster. She watches like a child, her nose pressed against the glass. There is something enchanting about the sea, some raw, untamed power that is unpredictable, changeable yet beautiful all the while. It's always given her strength in a strange, uncanny way... And the way their little house is situated... she feels like she's precariously perched on top of the world, on the tip of a dangerous and magnificent ocean, much like her lot in life. She thinks what it would be like if she gave herself up to the mercy of the ocean... to surrender to the waves... to be caught up in such power and beauty that she lost all semblance of thought or time...

She brushes her stomach gently, guiltily but the thoughts stay and linger...

If only...

She shivers, standing still, her heart pounding against her chest as a sudden dangerous desire to be near the ocean rises within her. She twists her slippered toe into the carpet and looks out through the frosted glass at the tempest brewing, and then... slowly, as if in a trance, walks across the faded carpet, her feet making no sound until she reaches the edge of the linoleum. She pauses, indecisive and then slips out of her house-shoes. She's never felt as free and exhilarated as she does now... Almost frightened, her hand trembles on the light switch, until she is shrouded in cool darkness, then slowly turning the door handle, she slips the door key into her pocket and steps out into the tumultuous night.

All at once, she feels her body ravished by the amazing elements that cause the skin on her arms to erupt in goose pimples, whipping her hair about her face. She knows that this is insane, but she doesn't care... She walks, barefoot and numb, stumbling down the rocky incline, her clothes billowing about her like a sail. Thrilled beyond all reason she climbs down towards the water. Hurrying faster now, her bare feet touch sharp rock and barnacle but she doesn't even notice as they cut into her feet. At last she stands at the shore-line, shivering, arms wrapped tightly around her body.

Only a few steps... that's all it'll take... to be immersed in that beautiful shimmering energy...

She closes her eyes and feels her body caressed by the salt wind. She feels the touch on her forehead, invisible lips pressed to her cheek. She laughs at the irony of her being out here with dangerous thoughts... She thinks of her parents... Where is their beautiful, strong, independent daughter now? She lifts her face to the wind and hears an echo of a voice; dark, feminine and beautiful... And as she stares out to the frothy white water-line, the heaving, dark shapes of indigo blue merging with the dark sky-line, she shivers, wondering what it would feel like to disappear into the unforgiving blackness. She closes her eyes, giving up all rational thought, bleeding her heart out into the night sky.

"Where are you?" She pleads through gritted teeth, her hair flying in her mouth. "Where the hell are you, goddamnit!" And when that doesn't work she opens her palms to the night. "Please," she whispers, "please..." Damn rational thoughts. Damn sanity. And the wind, indifferent to her pain brushes through her hair, lavishing the back of her neck with kisses, tantalising her spine. She walks blindly, her hands clenched into fists, overcome with some dangerous desire to the edge of the water-line and kneels down, immersing herself in the silver spray. The waves soak her, wet her through, and she touches the water to her forehead, to her tear-stained eyes, tasting salt, as if somehow the water will give her wisdom... and relief...

Lisa...

She shakes badly, the water tumbling from her hands and looks out into the dark night. The night is uncannily still as if the storm has been hushed within a sound-proof bubble of light. She stops for a moment, trying to peer out into the unfathomable blackness and watches as the tips of the waves glow molten gold, the air lighting palatably as if some unseen force is passing through. She shivers as the waves turn a light aqua-blue, golden fish swimming in concentric circles, glowing, shimmering, alive...

And then, incredibly a face appears in the waves, a beautiful radiant face with hair the colour of a red sunset over the water, whose white arms are the frothing foam, whose pale breasts are the reflection of the moon, whose sparkling eyes are the diamond-blue of the waves. She bows her head, her heart beating against her chest.

"Goddess of Mercy..." She trembles and draws a hand across her forehead in a sign of respect. She's never felt more vulnerable in her life and it is truly frightening. The waters part as the goddess herself steps forth, her body flowing like water into a human-sized form, the ocean streaming behind her like a starry mantle. Lisa looks up frightened into eyes of the deepest blue; kind, gentle yet thrilling. She is stunned, paralysed before this sentient being who with one look seems to read her mind and everything she has ever done in her entire life and yet doesn't judge her for it... Before she can even open her mouth to speak, the magnificent being speaks one word and she obeys.

"Come..."

She doesn't know how long they walk together in silence, all she knows is that within that one moment, within the presence of such radiant beauty and goodness lies the essence to all knowledge, that within this strange, almost ethereal moment lies the answer to life itself. She feels lifted, enlightened, as if finally for the first time she understands why she is alive... It is as if the night stands hushed, suspended in time, as the waves create a chaotic dance of glorious proportions. And everything seems crystal clear, transparent, as shooting stars mark burning trails of fire across the sky.

Then the Sea goddess beckons a hand almost sternly at the waves which rise high around them, frothing. Dancing, lifting them up to frightening heights. Lisa gasps openly as the town disappears beneath them, transforming into tiny landscape of shimmering life and colour.

"What do you see Lisa?"

Lisa startles for a moment, hearing the gentle voice resonate deeply within her.

"I see... the town..."

"Correct..." And the goddess turns her head and smiles at her, "but you see more than that, you see light and colour and an interwoven, interconnected tapestry of life... What you see is the complex, beautiful way in which human beings are connected to each other... the way in which they need each other and complete each other...

It just takes a moment to step back and view life from a different perspective... and you begin to realise how important relationships are..."

"If only I could believe that... I don't know how I will... how I..." She swallows, unable to continue.

"You are with child..." It is not a question and Linda hugs her hands to her belly protectively, her face flushing, nodding her head.

The wild ocean goddess smiles at her kindly for a moment, "You may call me Granmammare, Lisa..." Then she looks on her, blue eyes piercing. "As mother's we have the greatest responsibility... We are entrusted with souls to look after for a certain amount of time, to coach and to love... and to eventually let go... A mother's love braves sickness, hurt and sorrow... a mother's love overcomes trials, danger and the unknown... a mother's love looks on tempests and is not shaken..."

Lisa looks down, unable to speak.

"Lisa... your child will be special..."

"What do you mean Granmammare?"

The sea goddess smiles, "He will be one who tames the waves... one who inspires love and brings balance... for it is in his nature..."

And when Lisa looks up at her open-mouthed, she realises they have arrived safely back on the moon-swept sand. "Dearest... always remember you are never alone..." And she bends her head and kisses her.

Lisa bows her head as the vision of loveliness dispels and the night sky turns an opal grey, the storm passing on. She presses a hand to her mouth, tears on her cheeks... She is trembling for she has never known such peace... She smiles and thanks the goddess of mercy very softly, for renewing within her a spirit of peace... She walks then, wrapped up in tendrils of light. She looks at her stomach curiously for a moment. "Sosuke," The name comes out of nowhere, whispered lightly on the wind. She smiles to herself.

"Sosuke..."

And smiling benignly she walks up the close, her hand resting gently on her belly to wait for the dawn.