Deep Sea, Deep Secret

May 06  |  Kris Schnebelen

“Did you know the sea has a secret?”

Adrianne posed this question as she pulled me along the beach and towards the water’s foaming edge. The scent of salt was stronger than usual. Its waves were rough, thrashing violently against the sand, ordered by the thick gray clouds above. Thunder rang from the distance. A memory lodged itself in my throat, sprung up by the too familiar sight. My blood ran as cold as the hurricane’s mercy over my pleading, half-drowned form from long ago.

“We need to go home,” was my response, eyes locked to the sky rather than on her tanned skin, sun-bleached hair, gentle smile. Her eyes, sparkling like an aquamarine’s, glistened against the only ray of sun breaking through the clouds.

“We are home,” she told me. “I am, at least.” She released her grip on me and frolicked into the ocean. I held my hand out and shouted, but it was no use—she was already hip-deep in the waves.

She was always akin to the sea. I was always akin to the land. We were opposites in this manner, but still found room in our hearts for the other. But I could never learn to love her sea, not if it threatened to seal my lungs shut, as it did when I was a child. The conditions were ideal for that—they were ideal to steal my Adrianne, too.

Her body disappeared into the waves, and I screamed. She said she wanted to tell me something, a secret, for our anniversary. I refused to let the ocean take her words.

I swallowed my fears and took a step into the water, sand pushing through my toes. But before I could take another, something broke through the water’s surface—strong and elegant. A long, glimmering tail, scales all reflecting their own vibrant color. It replaced her legs — Adrianne’s legs — as she held her arms above her head, ready to dive back into the ocean. A lightning cracked the sky in half; its light reflected off her, a cascade of rainbow branching out into the air, the sea, onto my damp skin.

She splashed back in, then lazily swam towards me, her tail flicking behind her. The sand consumed my feet, rooting me as I withstood the raging wind whipping hair into my eyes. When she reached me, she sat firmly in the sand, her eyes gazing up at me like a child to their mother.

“Are you surprised?” she asked me, so casually.

“Honestly,” I managed to choke out. “Not really.” We laughed, then brought her into my arms. Each scale of her tail pressed into my skin, branding me as hers.

What I feared most — the vast sea, and the secret within — lay in my arms with her own wrapped against my neck. I took a step further, and another, and another, and the waves lapping against my belly did not scare me. Not anymore.

If she was the sea, then I was home.

One Comment
  1. Patricia Pease1 week ago

    What a beautiful story with a wonderful surprise! I love the imagery and poetic prose. Splendid work!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *