Sea of Longing

Sea of Longing

It was a coastal village cradled by the sea. Elara was seen by the sea many times, standing on the cliff, holding a blue bowl, and gazing at the horizon with longing. The longing in her eyes spoke of a yearning for something. Elara was a healer, using seawater in her potions; her touch was as soft as a whisper, and her eyes were as deep as the ocean.

“What do you see when you look out there?” the sick, young traveler asked; his eyes fixed on the blue bowl Elara had clutched. “How is your touch so magical that it heals even strangers like me?”

“Beyond the horizon, my dear, lies a world unknown, a world full of dreams and wonders,” Elara replied, her voice like the melody of distant ocean waves. The sea breeze brushed against their faces, carrying the salty tang of the ocean.

“You speak in riddles, healer!” the traveler laughed, his voice tinkling like seashells in a dance.

“I know,” Elara said with a smile. Her eyes softened. “Do you see this bowl, Traveler? It’s more than it seems. It holds memories, love, loss, and a longing as deep and endless as the sea itself. It was my husband’s.”

Suddenly the wind picked up, rustling leaves and sending a chill down the traveler’s spine. “Tell me more about you, healer!”

Elara’s face tightened. Her eyes clouded over like a stormy sky, lost in thoughts, memories from her days spent with her beloved husband.

“My husband was a naval surgeon, a sailor. He was kind, strong, and brave, like a mighty oak standing tall against the raging wind. We had a son, a boy with a curious spirit and a heart full of adventure,” Elara said, her voice breaking like a ship upon rocky shores.

Elara and the traveler settled by the fireplace, the flames flickering like the heartbeat of the house. Elara began to recount the tale. Her voice weaving a tapestry of love, adventure, and sorrow.

“My husband was lost at sea twenty years back,” Elara paused. “It was not a work-related journey but an adventurous journey with his five-year-old son. People retrieved my husband’s body, but not my son’s. They believe he got pushed away near the shore. He is still out there somewhere, alive. But my husband! He left something behind — this blue bowl and his passion for helping sick people. It has magical properties. It’s a key to something greater.”

The traveler’s eyes widened, “A key to what, healer?”

Elara looked into the fire, her eyes reflecting the dancing flames. “A mystery, dear traveler. A secret hidden by time and tide.”

The blue bowl’s call grew stronger. The traveler found himself drawn to it. The night grew colder, and Elara’s tales became a balm for the weary traveler’s soul. The blue bowl, with its enigmatic aura, seemed to beckon, whispering secrets and mysteries.

Elara’s eyes met with the traveler’s gaze — a mixture of sadness and strength. “After my husband’s death, I wandered the cliffs in grief. One night, under a full moon, the blue bowl glowed with a life of its own. I felt like I heard a voice, gentle like the sea breeze, calling to me. It was a call of destiny, a call to heal. Ever since, I have kept my husband alive by carrying on his legacy of helping people heal. I continued to stand by the sea’s edge, gazing at the horizon, my white headdress a symbol of purity, love, and an unbroken promise. My healing touch had become my devotion, a tribute to my beloved husband.”

There was a long pause.

“How did you become a healer?”

“The bowl taught me, traveler. It’s the essence of my husband, his love, and courage. It guided me to become a healer, to soothe the pain of others, just as it soothed mine. I found a purpose in life.”

Days turned into weeks, and the young traveler’s stay extended. Oftentimes, the traveler’s heart ached, understanding Elara’s loneliness, her love, and her devotion for her dead husband.

The traveler healed, and the day came when he had to leave.

“Take your last potion, traveler, before you leave,” Elara handed him the blue bowl with seawater to drink. Her eyes were filled with tears, yet her smile was tender. Something about him was familiar, though Elara couldn’t place what it was. Her heart ached with a strange premonition, a sense of impending loss. She felt a sudden weariness, a weight that seemed to settle in her very bones. The sea, which had always been a source of strength, now seemed to call to her in a different way, whispering of rest and reunion. 

Suddenly, the bowl slipped from the traveler’s chin and knocked the chained locket tied around his neck. As the seawater splashed, and the locket broke open, a faded portrait fell out of the locket.

Elara’s breath caught as she looked at the image. It was her husband in his youth, and beside him, a little boy — her son.

“You!” Elara exclaimed, looking at the traveler, realization dawning. “You are my son! My lost son! I knew there was something familiar about you.”

The traveler’s face lit up, his eyes wide with disbelief. “I survived the shipwreck, wandering from place to place, looking for you.”

Elara’s hands trembled as she held the portrait. “This blue bowl is your father’s heirloom; your father gave it to me as a symbol of our love. And now, it has brought you back to me.”

The traveler accepted the bowl, his path now clear, driven by a purpose beyond himself. With that, Elara’s head drooped as she took her last breath.

In the quiet of the night, if villagers listened closely, they could still hear the melody of the distant waves, and perhaps, the soft laughter of a sailor and Elara, forever entwined by love, loss, and longing. The blue bowl and white headdress, symbols of a love that transcended time, would remain etched in the village’s memory, a testament to a mother’s unbreakable bond with her son.
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Sharda Mishra
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