Short Story “Sea of Memories”

A touching tale about a transformation and gratefulness

The sun looked down unyielding at the vastness of burning sand. A lone figure wandered amidst its dunes of sand and stones – stubbornly making her way. If not for some spare springs of water she would have perished already in this scorching heat. She shielded her eyes against the blazing sun, looking for her next well needed break. Instead, cursing under her breath, she spotted clouds of red dust at the horizon – a promise of a painful and slow death. This was the third storm this week – a lucky strike she wasn’t thrilled about. Picking up her pace she headed towards a dark spot at the horizon, praying it would protect her from being swallowed up by the storm. “Should have taken the damn camel…” she muttered to herself and grimaced in a foul mood. Camels and her didn’t get along at all. Probably because she didn’t trust these creatures one bit and they could somehow feel it. In the end it didn’t even matter as most of her choices were the wrong ones anyway, she thought. Half an hour went by and as she approached her destination, she felt the feeling of dread lessening a tiny bit. The dark spot had indeed been a rock formation and an entrance greeted her, promising cool shade and maybe even some water. It wasn’t uncommon in this area to find paths and caves formed in cracks, carved out of huge boulders, hidden away invisible to the unknowing eye. Looking once more over her shoulder towards the looming sand storm, she pressed herself against the uneven red stonewalls. Careful not to scratch herself too much, she pushed herself into the crack and left the evershining sun behind. 

Wandering down a dimly lit path, her mind began to wander to dark places again. In some sense, the path felt like an allegory of her life. Hidden away from the light, warmth and positivity, threatened by looming shadows to devour and crush her up. Shutting her eyes close and opening them up again, she told herself to be happy about her postponed yet still too early demise by sandy suffocation. With clenched fists she thought that at least nobody was able to see her in this miserable state. Baring pitying looks would make her descend just worse. Since that fateful day it had only become worse. She couldn’t even recall everything. Some things became hidden under a fog of misery and pain, which she could only break out of from time to time. Even if she tried really hard to focus on the positives, she still wasn’t able to enjoy pleasant things and kept circling back to her problems, faults and worries. It wasn’t that she wasn’t conscious of her self destructive thoughts. But she just couldn’t stop her inner cycle of negativity. Considering that her personal mantra was, life is suffering, she shouldn’t be surprised. Although objectively and historically somewhat true, her interpretation was way too literate. And still, in some small corner in her mind she protected a last remnant of hope despite the pain it caused her. 

Sunlight shone through some cracks in the ceiling, falling upon floating crystals in the air, where it refracted into a million rays of light – A glittering sea of light. Astonished, she noted that they weren’t just crystals. There was a never ending circle of water drops falling from the ceiling, transforming into crystals midair, dissolving into drops again and shortly after falling to the ground where they shattered into thousand small pieces and vanished forever. With a childish inquisitiveness she crept towards the ledge, trying to get a closer look at one of the crystals. The second she got a perceivable glimpse, her eyes widened in shock and she pulled back abruptly, kicking some loose rubble down the hill. The sound of falling stones disturbed the serene sound of falling water before the quiet slowly returned. Her heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would spring out of her chest.

If she hadn’t lost her mind completely, she just had seen her significant other in the crystal. She shaked her head in denial. “Impossible…the sun must have fried my brain more than I noticed.” she tried to convince herself and haltingly approached the crystal again. It was a simple scene, repeated countlessly in her brighter past. Her loved one pressing his lips on her forehead with a warm loving smile on his face. With an aching heart, she turned her head towards the crystal to the left which revealed a memory from her early childhood. Her parents, her younger sister and herself were all playing together in their yard, covered in mud but laughing wholeheartedly. Another scene towards the right showed her in deepest sorrow, crumbled on the ground. Her best friend kneeled right beside her, slowly stroking her back, just being there for her. More and more scenes unfolded in front of her. Herself enjoying her favorite tea with the sun tickling her face. Friends toasting towards her, celebrating all together. Her loved one and her on a walk in a lively forest together, holding hands and listening to the rustling leaves and singing birds. Eating a delicious casserole in great company, which smelled and tasted so wonderful she remembered it weeks later. Her first ride on a camel, where everything went wrong and her sister laughed so hard that she couldn’t resist and laugh with her. With every new memory she realized that despite all the pain and suffering, she had been gifted with so much. Rays of light refracted and scattered through the countless crystals, mirrored in her glossy, teared up eyes. Nobody could’ve ever guessed that these same eyes looked completely hollow, almost dead just a moment ago. A warm feeling blossomed in her chest, spreading through her whole body. The crushing weight she constantly carried with her lifted from her shoulders, pushed away by a warm caring strength from within. A sense of gratefulness for the people who have helped her and held her dear. For the moments of joy and happiness she shared with them. And for the mere opportunity of being alive and having experienced it all. As she smiled it felt like she was shining from within, letting her light merge with the crystal’s reflections.

Some time went by as she stood there, alone in this cave, lost in her memories and thoughts. She could’ve stayed there forever, if not for her unfulfilled quest. With her eyes closed, she let out a sigh. It was time to let go and move on. With a lot of effort she pulled herself out of the lull of pleasantness, but not without taking all the feelings of warmth, love and gratitude with her. She bowed deeply and whispered “thank you”. With a spring to her step she made her way back out of the cave. As she stepped outside of the rock formation, she turned her face towards the shining sun, took a deep breath and smiled. She smiled wide and wholeheartedly like she hadn’t in a very long time.

Thank you so much fpr reading my short story. I hope you liked it! I plan to write more in the future and hope you are also interested. Till then let me know what you think! If you want to get informared about new content and grab a discount on my prints, feel free to sign up for my newsletter, or follow me on pinterest. I’d love to have you with me. And if you need more to read check out my other blog articles.Take care. Love, Mary-Lou

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