Disclaimer: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no Ue no Ponyo) is an animated film by Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Therefore, I own nothing and bow down to genius.
Author's Note: This was written for a prompt on LiveJournal, but was only supposed to be a drabble. It got away from me a little, but I hope it's still worth reading. Enjoy!
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
November 10, 2010
"Do you remember what it was like?" Sōsuke asked, wiggling his toes in the wet sand. They sat by the shore, a weekly ritual, seeking comfort after a long week full of reports, exams, and the general woes of schooling.
"What what was like?" Ponyo responded, staring at Sōsuke as if he had asked the most vague question in the world—which was true, but he frowned back at her.
"Living underwater, being in the ocean all the time."
"Oh," she started to say as she stood to tug off her school uniform. She had a bathing suit underneath. Tossed carelessly behind her, it was forgotten for the time being. "Well, I remember it being wonderful. I remember being with my family, my friends—though my family was, and is, much more important to me. I remember my father, how scary my mother was (is), and… the peace that came with being there."
He averted his eyes before speaking. "Do you ever miss it?"
"Of course I do, Sōsuke. Wouldn't you miss your home if you were gone for a long time?"
Sōsuke was quiet, saddened by her admission, though realizing he should've expected such an answer. If she was unhappy, even after she had put so much thought into her decision that long time ago, he didn't know what to do or how to approach the situation.
Ponyo watched him sympathetically, knowing this boy's mind so well and the direction he was sure to be taking with the words she just said. She had gotten on her knees, edging herself closer to the young man. "Sōsuke," she spoke, straddling his lap, all of a sudden (to him).
Grinning at the startled gasp she earned, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Playing with the fringe at the nape of his neck, she rubbed noses with him in an affectionate gesture, then pressed her forehead to his. "Even though I miss my home, I don't think it would compare to how much I would miss you, you know, if I were away from you. Now, my home is where you are. My origin may be the ocean, the sea, but my heart is with you, and that's where I believe my home truly is."
"You mean it?" asked Sōsuke, hopeful. His guilt multiplied exponentially over the years, how she would longingly stare at the ocean as if it were calling to her. They were teenagers now, living lives with purpose, but it wouldn't work for them if her purpose, one so neatly tied together with his, was calling her elsewhere. Away.
He wanted her happiness. That's all he could ever want.
"You know, Sōsuke…" she began, her face nearing his in the initiation of a common ritual, "that feeling I was telling you about? The peaceful one?"
He nodded slowly, eyes drawing closed, as he was pulled closer to her as if by some invisible elastic. "Yeah."
Ponyo's lips touched his softly, almost feather-light, before pulling away. "Do you feel that peace now?"
"No," he said, pouting in a way he would only reveal to her. At least he was honest. "I feel frustrated."
"Here I am, trying to be romantic, and you're being greedy," she responded, not angry in the least, as she leaned forward once again to meet his lips in a more passionate lock.