Every evening, while sitting on the edge of this rock with my feet dangling down, feeling the caress of the dancing waves, eyes glued to the flash of light emanating from across the ocean, my mind takes me back to the repetitive thoughts I have had forever.
I spend hours looking into the distance, hoping to see the trace of someone like me, anyone other than me, but all I see is the reflection, competing with the dimming light of the setting Sun, only to die along with it. And as the darkness sets in, I leave the rock and walk right into that darkness and become one with it.
For some unexplainable reasons, I don’t remember how I came drifted to this lonely island, two years ago. No matter how hard I try, the fuzzy fragments of my memory only take me to the shore I had woken up on, starved and parched, with only two chests by my side.
Who was I? What was my name? Was I a daughter to someone or an orphan? Was I on a journey to somewhere? My mind was flooded with those questions when I had gained consciousness, pressing frantically for some answers I never got.
Disoriented and lost, I had wandered into the woods like a ghost for hours, in the hope of finding a soul. And when my screams and desperate calls for help froze in my throat, a chill had run down my spine, realizing that I was absolutely and tragically alone on the island. It had taken me days and a long spell of torrential rains to come to my senses and understand that sitting under a tree wasn’t going to help. And so, I had, after all, accepted my fate.
I often wonder why there is no one living on this island. Why no one has ever visited in two years. I don’t know, if the world knows that a place like this even exists; a place so pristine, yet undiscovered.Whatever the story of this island is, it’s the only home I have known.
Mornings are my favorite here ; waking up to the melodious morning songs of the birds, opening my eyes to the warm and welcoming sun, the first breeze of the day gentling ruffling my hair while I am still in bed. My days are spent witnessing the marvel the place is.
It’s the nights that I detest, which are deeper and darker, engulfed in the emptiness that feels endlessly long.
The island has given me so much; a safe shelter, the warm Sun, welcoming trees, fresh water, pure food. It accepted me when there was no one to claim me.
It truly has been a home for me, but it’s a home without a soul, and if I don’t find my way out soon, I’d lose mine too.
Taking stock of my efforts after all these weeks I have spent, peeling off the bark from a grove of pine trees, I smile to myself, content with the job done well.
By looking at the pile gathered on the ground, I know I have enough of these to tie the wooden logs I have already kept aside. Held together, they will help me build a boat, strong enough to take me to the other side of the ocean, where the reflection emergesfrom.
I don’t know how I feel. Strange? Excited, or anxious? I can’t tell.
I have dreamt of this day for years, and now when I stand over the fruit of my labor, this boat that’s ready to take me closer to the possibility of finding life, I feel unsure.
Unsure about what lies ahead, unsure whether leaving the only home I know is a right decision. But I know, I have to do this.
So, I look back one last time, say a silent goodbye and leave, to never return.
Standing next to my almost dismantled boat, half of which is still immersed in water, I run my expectant eyes over the seashore. The island appears smaller, in fact too small, but much greener, though it’s hard to see what lies behind all those trees, with the foliage so dense.
I let go of the rope tied to my broken boat and watch the waves take it over, perhaps to its final journey and I turn around to walk towards mine.
As I reach the brim of the woodland, a thick blanket of mist emanates from nowhere, slowly taking me in. Every step, after that, feels like a pull to a path going deeper into the woods, where I witness the day turn into night, with only fire flies to light up my way.
A strange silence hangs in the air that has nothing eerie about it, but like a distant melody it echoes till the farthest corners. The ground underneath my feet begins to give way to a muddy swamp, enveloping the forest into an unfathomable coldness.
With everything wrapped in the chilly darkness, it’s hard to tell what time of the day it is. All I know is that my feet are cold inside my wet shoes and my eyes have started to feel overly heavy with sleep. Awe-struck, I have been ignoring the growls in my stomach, which have now become aggressively louder, and my throat is burning for water.
Panic has now started to set in as I fear I may never find my way out of this dark and wet maze.
Frantically pushing the herbage out of my way, with all the strength left in me, I struggle to put one foot in front of the other, but giving up isn’t an option anymore. With desperation that has grown painful, I drag my lifeless feet and my body with them, through the sticky mud.
“Few more steps. Just a few more.” Prodding myself mentally, I push my exhausted beingfurther.
“One more step.”
And with that, I step into the sunlight!
The forest opens into a clearing right before me; a wide stretch of grassland spread as far as I can see, a hillock unusually settled in the middle and sitting on top of it, is an old wooden cottage.
I am still gawking at the startling sight, trying to make sense of it, when everything starts to spin around me. I feel something turn inside my stomach, and suddenly, everything goes black.
I don’t know if it’s the purgatory for dead sinners or I have been thrown back to those dark, mystical woods again, It’s difficult to tell imaginary from real after all I have been through, but opening my eyes to a dark and unfamiliar place doesn’t feel very promising to start with.
I try to focus my already blurry vision, a little, to inspect my surroundings and find out, it isn’t that dark after all.
By the looks of it, it indeed is a cabin. An almost empty cabin except for a side table purposelessly standing in the corner, and a bed made of straw and wooden sticks, I find myself neatly tucked in.
Even in the darkness, the cabin is lit with the moonlight filtering through the roof, making everything gleam in its blue glow.
I call out in the dark.
“Hello? Is anybody here?”
I try a couple of times, but nothing.
I know someone has carried me to the shed, but where is that someone.
I jump to my feet, to go looking for the human, I have come all the way for. As I walk towards the front door, lying wide open, I notice shreds of seaweed sprawled all over the floor, and if that isn’t a startling enough sight, emerging from the weed are the greasy footprints heading outside.
Standing at the door frame, I admire the night drenched in the twilight, making everything loom dreamlike. I almost get reminded of the empty, never ending nights I have lived through all these years. But this night, it is nothing like I have ever seen before. A night weaving a spell so strong, I find impossible to resist.
So, I walk into the magic the night is.
The ocean is close by, I can hear the waves dancing in the moonlight and the cool night breeze partaking in the symphony, spreading the music in the air.
Suddenly, my wandering gaze settles on a shadow, a glistering frame gliding under the moonlit sky, perhaps reaching for the ocean.
I want to call out after the almost floating silhouette, but it would be a shame to break the spell the night is, so I quietly follow him instead.
Oblivious to my snooping, the shadow takes me down the mound, on a stone walkway through the woods, down the ecstatic waves, finally stopping at the rim of the shore.
And under the night sky, beaming in all his glory, stands my savior; the beacon of my hope, who has brought me here, and now I know, what I have been following isn’t a mere shadow, It’s a human – a man sculptured to perfection.
I stand still, frozen to the ground, struggling to find my voice. I want to reach out, touch him to know for sure that this all isn’t a lucid dream. And while I try to frame the sentences in my head, imagining all the questions I have had that I need answers for, the man inches closer to the ocean, unraveled by the now raging waves, he keeps moving further in.
And I, stand glued to the ground, watch him vanish into the oceanic embrace.
It’s been 6 months since I found my way to this island. It was the reflection coming from across the sea that had given me a hope to come find this place, and so I did. That reflection still exists in the form of a little piece of glass hung on the door rim of my new cabin.
Every morning, I am welcomed by the moist sea weed lying on the floor, by my bed, and with it, the assurance that I am not alone on the island after all.
Every night, at the midnight, I walk up to the ocean, yearningly searching for the shadow that once merged with the waves.
Every night, I sit on the edge of this rock, waiting…