All Washed Up with Somewhere to Go

Rosy fingered Dawn touched the night and it blushed at the embrace of a new day. Proceeding in pers divine glory across the horizon, Dawn soon vanished as the golden sun followed, melting the illusions of darkness. Morning crept over the island of Skheria, glinting off ocean waves, white sand and wet rocks. It shimmered over a fresh dew and peeked and winked between leaves and branches.

Odysseus, she could feel patterns of warm and cool wander across her naked skin as she slept beneath the bushes. She lay as another piece of flotsam or jetsam. Near the mouth of a river she still rocked in the swells of her dreams. A piece of seaweed, caught in her hair and wrapped around part of her body like a spent umbilicus, gave testimony to her watery rebirth. Her slightly opened mouth vented moans and sighs in the language of unconscious reverie.

"Kalypso!" I call out as phe disappears on the horizon. I did not know it, but I loved per. I drop my hand in its last signal.

When I look at all of the riches Kalypso has sent with me on this voyage home, I hardly know what to think or feel. How is a golden pitcher, strings of rubies or fine silks and satins any replacement for a gentle caress? All was not well between us, but even so, I could now recognise moments worth cherishing. I really don't know if I believe in home any more.

The day started clear. The waves are now rising. I can see dark clouds ahead rushing toward my tiny vessel. A mist is forming over the sea and I imagine seeing within its midst, Poseidon stirring the waters against me with a trident.

Penelopos, I hope you have held me in your heart better than I have held you in mine. And I hope you forgive me. Your Odysseus had given up on ever seeing you again. I am not certain that I have forgiven myself for this. However, these regrets may not mean much if I do not make it home, and for no reason I will have lost someone else I held close.

The waves are like a slap across my whole body, stinging to the heart. Had not Hermes assured me that it was time to go home? Did phe not release me from Kalypso? I untie the treasures from my raft. What have I done to deserve this? I labour to throw the chests of gold overboard. They sink as if they have never been. Jars filled with sparkling jewels are flung into the devouring froth. For what purpose must I endure this? Silks, satins, honey, wine are all fed to the hungry ocean.

The waves are hitting harder and I am being battered by their weight. I tie myself to the raft, but am unable to secure the rope. The trough of one wave sinks from beneath the raft so swiftly that, for a moment, I am falling until the planks fly back up to meet me with a harsh blow. I lose my grip. I am flung overboard and into the sail.

The sail wraps itself around me filled with ocean water. Salt water is in my ears, my eyes, my nose, my mouth. All I can sense is the cold pulse of the storm. My chest is heavy, bursting. I pull myself up the sail cloth until I am above the waves and start crawling across its undulating mass toward the raft to which it is still attached.

I cough and retch. Then a face appears next to mine. It is a beautiful face with skin as translucent as a pearl. The figure behind the face easily rolls with the waves beside me. All I can imagine is that it must be an angel of death sent to release me. But this time I don't want to be released. I want to go home to Penelopos.

"Let go of the raft," phe calls out over the screaming wind.

"I don't want to die."

"Let go of the raft and swim for shore," phe calls out again. Phe gives me a white scarf. "This will keep you from drowning. Toss it back out to the ocean when you get to shore."

I can only whimper and cling to raft and sail.

Hours, maybe moments, later the raft is dashed against rocks and I completely lose grasp of all that is left of it. I am exhausted. I cannot remember what happens next.

A spider scuttles across Odysseus' face and includes her in its web.

Nausicaa Awakens

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps