Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Wave Dancer - Ayala

Editor's Note: Well, it's a new week so that means it must be time for a new Storyteller's submission. Here's one from Ayala, fresh off her summer hiatus. Ayala is fairly new to the blogverse and she has a great writing style for a young-un. She can use Storytellers for practice any time she wants.

When the souls of the sea whisper to each other and tell the stories of their past the waves stop and the entire ocean calms. Silence overwhelms the night and the stars shine with all of their strength onto the surrounding sands. They whisper, but we cannot hear them. As hard as we may try and as much as we may hope we cannot listen to the stories of the sea. She knew for she had tried.

She had heard them whispering under the sparkling sky. Slowly, silently, she had walked to the edge of the water. But the sands had felt the warmth of her feet and had warned their beloved ocean of her coming. The waves then started to swirl, creating a pattern around her. At first she had tried to resist the movements; she wanted more than anything to hear the stories they could tell. But the motions were too beautiful to refuse so she let the waves spin her back to the shore; back to the world she was a part of, a world where you do not hear the voice of the ocean.
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“Is everyone ready? Take your places, please, time is our enemy here. Now is everybody ready? Good. Begin.”

The pianist started a gentle tune, his fingers barely landing to rest on the keys before moving on to the next ones. Softly the violins joined in, then the flutes. They played calmly, quietly. Suddenly they played harder, more intensely, their sound drifting higher and filling up more of the surrounding space. The cellos began, bringing the air of excitement with them. The sounds blended together so flawlessly to create a symphony unlike any other.

It was expected that this music would be extraordinary. Of course they would practice relentlessly, there was no doubt that they would play for hours and then go home and go through the notes a hundred times more in their heads. For, you see when you are the musicians for the greatest dancer of your time you do not merely play. For if you miss a beat, if you hesitate for a moment, the dance is lost, a second too early or too late and she will loose her concentration. The music needs to become so dependable that she can blend with it until they are one, so that it looks as if the music came from the same place that her movements did: her heart.

With that knowledge in mind the musicians worked harder than every before. They studied and practiced and now it was over. Tomorrow she would dance in front of the world with their masterpiece accompanying her. Tomorrow.

“That was beautiful.” The conductor had a tear in his eye as he spoke. He had pushed them hard but they had come through. He had dreamt and they had made his dream a reality. Tomorrow she would bring her magic to this very stage. Tomorrow.

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The ocean had been kind today; she could see David from her window, his boat filled with fish. It will bring in good money, she knew, for their home. She looked once again at his kind face and gentle eyes and she wondered why it was that she hated him so.

“If I wasn’t being forced to marry him I might actually end up loving him on my own.” She had not meant to say that out loud. She knew if she was heard she would be punished for being ungrateful. Ungrateful. What a stupid word. She had come to hate that word as much as she hated his face. It could be worse, she thought. Her sister had been forced to marry a merchant from the next town. He had been fat and almost twenty years older than her teenage sister, but rich and so they had wed. David was not rich, which quite honestly she was happy for, although she knew her mother had hoped for a wealthier match. She hated money. She hated fish. She glanced up again at the boat and David waved at her shyly. She waved back. She hated fish.

Fish were gifts from the ocean. The waves guided the boats and the ocean decided which fishermen would succeed. She resented that gift, for it was not the one she wanted. She wanted to hear their stories. Sometimes she still sat up late at night straining her ears to hear their tales. But the sea had learned her tricks by now and they whispered softly to each other so that she could not hear. So she made up her own stories. Of ships and mermaids, of love and of faith. But her favorite story was the wave dancer, a story her mother had told her when she was a little girl. She would whisper it to herself until she fell asleep, her own story of the sea.

Once upon a time, when the land was controlled by the power of the ocean, there was a girl who loved to dance. Every night she would leave her small home and dance under the moonlight. Well, the sea saw the beauty of the girls face and the grace in her movements, and desired her. Although the sea controlled the land it could not make the earth bring the girl to them. They wanted her to dance among their waves and swim through the depths of their waters. But the earth wanted the girl to run through valleys and rivers and to dance through the trees of its forests.

The sea knew that they had to be smart to convince the girl to dance for them, so at night, when they would gather to share their stories, they let her listen. The souls of the sea would whisper to the girl about dances of far away places and movements that she did not know. The girl was smart and knew the dangers of dancing with the sea, but her body desired the movements, her heart wanted the dance. So she started to dance closer to the waters. She let her feet sink into the soft cool sand with every movement. The brave waves came up to touch her toes, and then rushed back into the safety of the sea. Slowly she became braver and danced into the waves. She danced only until the water reached her ankles and then moved back to the warmth and comfort of the earth.

For nights they danced like this. The sea whispered around her and let her hear their magic words. Then the sea began to whisper to her, as if she was part of them, and in a way she was. She had become a part of the sea.

She began to dance everywhere she went, spreading the movements and patterns that the sea had taught her. She amazed people with her talent and her unique dances, and she was careful never to tell them where she had learned her secrets. For you see, they were not really her secrets at all, but the secrets of the ocean. But the ocean is powerful and beautiful, and hard to resist, and the girl soon started to forget to be careful.

Her life on earth kept moving, she grew, she married, and she lived. And no matter what was happening in her life she kept dancing. Soon she had a child. The pain had been outrageous and she had feared that she would never see the ocean again. But she survived and had a beautiful baby girl. That night, while her daughter slept, she went outside to dance with the sea.
That night her happiness was stronger than ever before, her movements sharper, her heart more content, and she forgot to make sure she did not dance too far into the waves. She forgot to be careful of the height of the water against her skin.

That morning her husband woke to his daughter crying and his wife gone. She had danced too far. She had gone too deep. He wept for his wife and for his daughter who would grow up without a mother, and, to protect her, he made sure that the baby would never dance, that she would never go near the ocean. But the souls of the sea were inside of her and so she found a way. She grew quickly and soon found the knowledge of dance that was deep inside of her. And the sea loved her as well. But she was smarter than her mother and never left the shores; she danced with the waves around her feet but was careful not to lose concentration.

She grew up with the sea in her soul. She grew, she married, and she lived. She had a daughter who also had the ocean inside of her. So they danced together by the light of the moon. And at night, when they had danced and came inside to sleep, she would hold her daughter and whisper in her ear “Forever you will carry the secrets of the sea. You will pass them on to your daughter and then to her daughter. Be careful never to tell the secrets of the sea. And dance. Always dance.” With this message she would send her to sleep. Night after night, year after year. She grew, she married, and she lived. And her mother’s words came true. So even now the soul of the sea is passed down through the generations. And there is always one who cannot resist the urge to dance with the sea.

The story always calmed her. It reminded her of her mother and it put her to sleep. She knew the story was not real but it always reminded her of her own mother. Her mother would go outside to sit by the water every night. She had said it was to think, but she knew her mother danced; she had stayed up one night to watch. Her mother had been so beautiful; the moon shining on her face, and the ocean swirling around her. And when the night was over she had asked the sea one thing; that the ocean should not share its secrets with her daughter.

In the morning she had woken up and rushed to ask her mother about the dance she had seen. Her arms already aching to feel the movements. But her mother had been harsh when she mentioned it. She told her it must have been a dream. And now, after so many years, she had trouble remembering if it had been real or not.

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He had a secret. The mirror was leaned up against the ugly dressing room wall. He adjusted his suit, smoothed his hair one last time, and checked his watch to find that he still had twenty minutes until he had to be on stage. Ah, his secret. Tonight he would play the piano for the greatest dancer he had ever seen. And although he would be playing with twenty other musicians he knew she would only see him. He knew because the sea had told him. His name was David and the sea had told him that he belonged with this girl, this girl who danced like the waves.

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They married in October. The ocean was starting to get cold and tossed angrily in the background. She smiled, nodded, hugged the appropriate people at the appropriate times, but all the while she was wishing she could jump into the water and swim away.

That night they sat together in their new home. She was leaning against the window with the moonlight falling across her face and David gave her a gift. He gave her a small stone in the shape of a heart, with the pattern of the sands that had shaped it so still on its face. He told her that the sea had given it to him to show her that they would love each other in time, and that when it came this love would last forever. And this time, looking into his eyes, she took the gift of the ocean.

They lived happily together and grew to love each other. She grew, she married, and she lived. They have a daughter the following spring. She had hair as dark as the depths of the ocean and eyes as blue as the waves in the sun. And every night she would tell her daughter the story of the wave dancer. The daughter grew, she married, and she lived, but the magic of dance and the desire of the sea was lost in her. Here the story ended.

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The silk of her bodice shimmered in the light. She wasn’t nervous; she had done it a thousand times before. Ever since she was little her mother would tell her a story that mothers had been telling daughters for generations. It was the story of the wave dancer. She did not know but her mother had changed the story. She told her daughter that a long time ago her great great grandmother had married a man named David, and on their wedding night he had given her a gift from the ocean. For you see, she had always wanted to dance with the ocean. She had the desire to hear the secrets of the sea, just like her mother did and her grandmother did. But her mother had made the sea promise to stop the cycle of the ocean, and so it had stopped. But, her mother told her, now it would start again.

When she turned thirteen her mother told her the story of the wave dancer and pressed a small package into her hand. She opened it and saw a smooth stone in the shape of a heart: the gift of the sea. That night she walked to the ocean and laid the stone into the waves. She asked the ocean to take back its gift and give her another in its place; the gift of dance. So the ocean took back the stone and danced with her. The souls of the sea whispered in her ear and the waves swirled around her feet in a pattern unlike any she had ever seen. The cycle had returned.

She had shared the gift of the ocean with everyone she met. She danced. And the more she danced the more she realized the beauty of the water. Whenever the souls of the sea whispered to each other she heard, she learned, she danced, and she continued the pattern of the sea. But she knew that the sea had once given her great great grandmother the gift of love in that stone and she had exchanged it for the gift of dance. She had asked to be able to hear the stories of the ocean and she was scared that it would be instead of love.

“Five minutes ‘till show time.” Only five minutes.
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The show was over. She had danced with the waves whispering in her ear. She had danced as if the moon was shining on her face and the warm sands supported her feet. She was at the beach now, here to thank her friends for the gift they had given her, for the cycle of magic they had restored to her family. She had come to listen to the souls of the sea whisper to each other.
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He had played like never before, with the crashing of the waves against the shore keeping the beat in his head and the moon lighting the notes so he could see what to play. He had watched her. He saw the moonlight shining on her face and he heard the sea whispering the movements in her ear. He knew she would be at the beach, here to thank to ocean. He too came to thank the waters for the gift they had given him; her.
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They met at the beach one night, a long time ago. She danced and his music accompanied her. The sand had felt the warmth of his feet and had warned their beloved wave dancer of his coming. They did not speak. They did not have to.

He pressed a small package into her hand. She slowly opened the familiar wrapping and, with a tear in her eye, she saw the beautiful stone that she had returned to the sea so long ago. The ocean had given it back to her; the ocean had given her him. The moonlight fell across her face and David told her that the stone was a gift from the sea to show that they would love each other in time, and that when that love came it would last forever.

They grew, they married, and they lived. Always together. Late at night they would come together and listen to the stories of the sea. When they had a daughter they would bring her with them. They would lay her little feet into the wet waves and let the ocean caress the daughter of their beloved wave dancer. The three of them would dance with the water; they would swirl and spin together with the sea along side them.

When the daughter turned thirteen her mother took her aside and told her again the story of the wave dancer. When she was done she held her close and whispered in her ear, “You are the dancer, my love. The ocean will tell you their secrets; the waves will show you their movements. But always remember they are not your secrets to tell. And dance. Always dance.”

Then she took her daughter by the hand and went out to the ocean. Together they unwrapped the stone with the pattern of the sands that had formed it still on its face, and they laid it in the water. The ocean took back the stone so that one day, when the daughter was ready to grow, to marry, and to live, the ocean could return the stone to the right person. So that the cycle would forever continue.

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When the souls of the sea whisper to each other and tell the stories of their past the waves stop and the entire ocean calms. Silence overwhelms the night and the stars shine with all of their strength onto the surrounding sands. They whisper, but only some can hear them.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sara said...

You're awesome.

Keep the faith and bring me along when you ride those waves.



Just share the mat, dammit.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Scraps said...

This story reminds me of the story of the Selkies, but it has a happier ending. I like it. :)

7:34 AM  
Blogger Tempo said...

beautiful. your descriptions use well chosen language. great blog!

11:40 AM  
Blogger Elster said...

Can I say thank you to the great blog comment?

6:18 AM  

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