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|Woman of Waves|
I sat down on a hard stone above the dune that descended to our beach. I was in a state. My eyes were fixated on the wide expanse of ocean before me. The brilliantined cerulean waters shimmered from the autumn sunlight that rained down from patchy clouds. The sea was beautiful to me. The way it rolled and curved to make something afresh and new, the salty taste, and its emptiness. It fascinated and compelled me beyond comprehension, to a point where I was void of my humanity and became a blank page to the world. Hypnotised by the rhythm of the waves. I'd stare at it for hours, familiar to its every nook and crevice, knowing the timing of each wave, when it'd come, peak then surge downwards and break into foam. It was my one true love, forbidden and powerful – yet I had no idea how to swim. That was what probably made water so exciting to me, the danger.
Not much can break me from my spell, and if something does then that something has to hold some significance. My head subconsciously turned away from the ocean to two teenage girls sprawled on towels on the beach. Suddenly one of them, the skinnier one with a bobbed haircut, sprinted from the shore and into the waves. My eyes followed her swim, entranced and wildly focused, and she dove down and pulled something from submersion. It was a man. She held the man in her arms and pulled him onto the sand. At this point the other girl with long black hair came to aid the two. They both hoisted the man over their shoulders for support and the two unknown girls led him up the dune towards me. The girl with the bob started addressing me. I could not hear much, just aquatic murmurs and gargles. I had to blink twice to snap myself out.
- Mother, the girl said, this man needs help! Mother!
At that moment I remembered these two girls were my daughters. Li was the girl with the bob. She fitted the conventional criteria of 'beautiful' and was athletic, always looking of ways to challenge herself. Lo was her twin sister, and much more timid. Her raven hair was long and thick, wild and knotted, and she had thin lips. I always forget
We took the man into our home and wrapped him in a dry blanket and fed him some warm vegetable soup. And as it turned out this man was highly important. His name was Hozon and he was a research botanist working for the Fire Nation, studying the native plants of Ember Island. He thanked Li profusely for saving him and from that their passionate affair began. They'd walk the island together, hand in hand, eyes blurred by the sweet glaze of youthful affection. They became very close, and Hozon would visit our home many times. Li had many suitors through her time, and enjoyed their attention, but nothing was as intense and loving as her relationship with Hozon. Once his research was completed Li accepted his offer of going with him to the Fire Nation capital, and even got Lo permission to join them too. The two sisters were finally going to get the adventure they always wanted. Their younger brother, Tosha, however, would have none of it.
I remember the day of their departure. Tosha was collapsed on the dock, eyes puffy and dribbling quickly with heavy raindrops of tears. Lo and Li were his two best friends and now he had none. He was broken. With his father conscripted for the war he was left to rot with his vacant mother. And what could I do? Nothing came from my mouth, no goodbye or good luck, and no tears were shed from my empty eyes. Not one glimpse of sympathy emanated from my frozen heart. I could have gone and embraced him, stroked his hair. But instead my eyes were fixed on the water, my mouth curved down, frowning only slightly. I was unfit to be a mother, and these kids had worn me away. Lobotomised me of something that poured life into me. I was shell of something that once was, of something lost, and only the salt water could pass through me in hope of cleansing my deteriorated soul.
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