Fog kissed the perimeter of the inlet, awash in the salmon palette of dawn. Scratched across its surface stretched a long expanse of lumber, rough-hewn and weathered smooth by time. Blinking in the light, she placed bare lily feet upon its surface; padded silently to terminus; grasped the cool smooth knob of one of the braces – and waited. She knew it would come – as dependable in dreams as in the imagination.
Two this time, the orca and smaller grey companion, a dolphin. Churning up brackish water, they lashed back and forth in a display of invitation. And this was something new: before, the girl had watched. This time, it was clear she was to participate. But how?
Silent as wolves padding through forest mulch, all thought ceased. She simply slid into liquid, astride the expanse of ebony and ivory. The thrill of connecting her flesh to that of the creature proved indescribable. Grasping the shiny dorsal fin, quickly they submerged; and it occurred to her briefly that she might require breath. Instead, oxygen sprang forth from the living ocean directly into her lungs. All fear abated and joy swelled up as though her heart would burst from it.
What remained when it ended was magic. Logic would come later to the waking brain, but for now, a profound sadness remained. The young woman longed for the creature like a lover. Mourned the separation of earth’s land masses from her watery depths. Anguished, she stood mutely, shivering in her white cotton nightshirt, toes gripping the end of the dock. Unmoving. As if she could summon the orca back; as though with enough love, anything was possible.
Time passed. Then she noticed a long wake of water ridged up to break its surface. An amorphous form assumed shape; curled and arched toward her. The leviathan returned, head rising out of the sea. An offering, a twig, began to materialize from the creature’s mouth. Impossibly, she broke the stick into pieces with razor teeth. Fashioned them into a tree. Nosed the object in her direction, insisting she grasp the gift. Heart breaking, tears streaming, the girl achingly accepted. Returning to her world seemed a cruelty, despite all the beauty it offered.
She awoke, pillow suffused with tears.