She has insomnia – that’s what she told me that night we met at the bar in the dark hours of the morning. She can’t sleep, so she goes out for a swim. It calms her mind. Usually I roll over and ignore it, but I couldn’t sleep either. Something in the back of my mind told me to get up.
I found her on the pontoon, staring at the wedding arch. Her parents had made it out of fresh palm leaves just that morning. I can’t imagine what she was thinking, really – I never can. There’s an unfathomable sadness in those seaweed eyes sometimes, something I can’t really ever hope to understand. All I can do is be there.
I went up and stood by her side. After a while, she turned to me.
“The sea is beautiful at night.”
I put my hand on her shoulder. She looked away, then back at me. For a moment, I thought she was going to say something else – but she didn’t.
We went back to bed. For once, she slept.
The next morning, I was nervous. I’ve never been able to say how I feel in public, not once, so we’d decided to have our ceremony alone. I must have looked silly, walking down that empty isle in my white gown with flowers in my hair, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was the fear, however unreal, that something would go wrong, that she wouldn’t be there.
Then, of course, I saw her standing under the arch. My Alice. She was wearing her mother’s wedding jewelry, the blue-silver necklace with the matching earrings, and a fishtail gown in ocean blue. She had never looked more like a creature of the waves.
We said our vows to each other. There was no one else we needed, no-one we needed to prove our love to. Our witnesses were the sun and the sea and the sky. No-one else mattered.
We invited our parents over to celebrate later, of course. We all sat in our little kitchen, laughing and drinking kava. When they had all left, we stood by the bonfire we had lit and watched the driftwood flames burn blue.
In those fires I saw her at last. Through all the unfathomable depths of her soul a song came shining through, haunting and profound. It had no words, but it said everything it needed to say.
We lay in the sand till dawn, the waves lapping at our feet. Dolphins called in the distance. Somewhere far away, very far and very deep, I thought I heard a heartbeat.
I always used to wonder where Alice goes at night. Does she swim with the dolphins, chattering with them as they race by? I used to think so, but now I know better. She’s looking for tears in the depths of the sea, trying to find the sorrow that will allow her to drown her pain. If she finds what she’s looking for, will the shadow over her dreams pass by? Will the sun finally come up for her, and will she finally be able to dance in the rain?
There are good days and there are bad ones for her. There always will be.
Still, it’s just like she told me that day, as the dawn finally came to wake up the world. With her heart and her eyes and her music and her fire and her soul, she told me what her words could never accomplish.
She found what she was looking for in me.