Sealed with a Kiss
The night was at its darkest. At least, that was how I saw it… As I laid still and motionless by the seashore with my back against the prickling white sand, I felt all hope being drained from me slowly but continuously. It was like my existence was finally coming to its end.
The ice cold waters came rushing through my back as the evening waves made their way towards the shore. I shivered against the rush, but I made no attempt to get up and dry myself. That cold feeling was what I wanted anyway. I wanted to suffer in that cold state.
"Let's face it. You and I both know that we won't get anything from living this lie. It's over." Recalling his words was painful. I flinched at the pain, clutching over my heart, wondering why I was hurting. As far as I knew, I had no heart. From the very beginning, he had already taken it and I had gladly surrendered it to him. But, just earlier on, as swiftly as he had taken it, he had shattered it into pieces.
"Living this lie…" - That was how he saw our whole relationship. A lie. To him, there was really no such thing as 'love'. Everything we shared together meant nothing to him. It had all been one-sided on my part. I was the only one who thought that we had a bond that was special.
It was then that the tears started falling. I sat up and wiped them off my face. Still, they kept on coming, seemingly endless, reflective of the piercing pain I had upon my chest.
"A girl like you deserves better."
The voice came as such an alluring sound, so pleasant to the ears. However, instead of comfort, it provided a rush of panic within me. Acting as a result of instinct, I wrapped my arms around my body and stood up.
"W-Who's there?" I asked, my voice shaking as I walked away from the waters. In addition to the cold wind blowing, my wet body shivered even more due to the fear that slowly instilled within me. My heart started beating wildly as I continued turning and turning, searching for whoever was watching me.
"Turn back towards the sea. I'm right here."
Terrified as I was, being truly aware of the dangers of the night, I simply couldn't resist the urge to obey the words of the one who spoke. Shivering, I slowly turned and walked back towards the waters. I kept alert, looking carefully at all directions until my eyes finally caught sight of him.
He was an amazing sight in the midst of the gentle waves. His dark brown hair, dripping wet, was grown quite long that it almost reached his broad shoulders. He had a well-built body, very muscular, flawless and proportioned. As for his face, it was definitely impossible to accurately describe it. Extremely thin lips… A sharp pointed nose… Sparkling, hazel eyes that were comparable to the twinkling stars in the sky…
My hands moved so as to cover my mouth and hide my gasp. Indeed, the sight of him was literally jaw-dropping. Who was this guy?
"Maya…" he said, smiling and revealing his perfect pearl white teeth.
He knows my name… "W-Who are you? W-Why do you know m-my name?"
A spark of sorrow creased his perfect face. "Oh, right… I keep forgetting that you don't remember anything about our past." He put on a smile, which, unlike the previous one, reflected the sadness within him. "But that does not matter. What is important is that I get to see you once again."
"Come. Let's swim together like the old times," he said, offering me his right hand.
The flawless young man seemed to know me but as far as I was concerned, it was the first time I've seen him. Never before have I met such a guy and if I had, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't have forgotten about him.
It was probably his godlike body structure that appeared truly breathtaking while wet with seawater. Perhaps it was his flawless face that expressed both gentleness and passion at the same time. It could even be the fact that he seemed to know me. But whatever it was, it drew me to him. I, almost with no amount of hesitation, came into the water and took his hand.
In the midst of the ice cold waters of the sea, his hand provided me warmth, warmth that slowly seemed to spread throughout my entire body. Somehow, to me, he did not at all seem like a stranger. His presence did not feel new at all. Did we really meet before? At that moment, I was beginning to be confused. My mind and my heart were contradicting each other.
"Um, excuse me, but could you tell me your name?" I asked as we continued on walking, going deeper and deeper into the waters.
He stopped in his tracks and turned to face me, flashing once again his ever beautiful smile. "Of course. I'm Ronan."
Ronan loved the sea. I could easily tell by the way he moved through the waters. His face shone with clear happiness as he swam. With every powerful stroke, he seemed to turn more and more breathtaking.
"Standing there will only make you feel colder, Maya." Ronan emerged from the waters and stood at full length. His already glorious appearance was made even more beautiful by the shine of the moonlight. So beautiful…
"H-Huh?" I had done it unintentionally. I had stopped swimming in favor of just standing there and watching him. I instantly felt my cheeks turn red. How embarrassing…
"Would you like me to make you feel warm?" Within seconds, he descended down into the waters, only to resurface once again behind me. Ronan wrapped his arms around my waist in a gentle motion, making my heart race and the hairs on my skin stand. A gasp escaped from my mouth as the suddenness of his embrace hindered me from holding it in. My cheeks were burning now. I was blushing more than ever.
"R-Ronan!" I exclaimed. "You…" In truth, I did not at all dislike what he was doing. Indeed, his embrace was keeping me warm. It felt nice. I wanted to keep feeling his warmth.
"Time's almost up…" he murmured, tightening his hold on me. "Hey Maya…" Slowly, he turned me to towards him. "Don't my perfect features attract you?" He reached for my right hand and gently guided my fingers so as to trace his built body. "Doesn't my flawless face appeal to you?" He brought my hand up to his face, allowing me to get a feel of his smooth complexion.
My trembling fingers moved along as Ronan had me trace through his forehead down to his cheeks and finally, his lips. "And doesn't my smooth, alluring voice draw you in?"
Still keeping a firm grip on my right hand, Ronan pulled me close to him. My heart started beating wildly as my eyes met his. His brilliant gaze was centered solely on me as he spoke of his final question with deep passion and pure desire. "Aren't those all enough to make you stay with me?"
Closer and closer did he move towards me. I closed my eyes in anticipation, knowing what he was about to do. I made no move to resist. There was no way that I could reject him, not while being fully aware that my answer to all of his questions was 'Yes'. I was going to let him do it simply because I wanted him to do so. I wanted…
The warmth of his hands that held my face… The gentle brush of his lips upon mine… His velvet voice, softly whispering my name over and over again…His passionate kisses that came one after the other…
The moment I opened my eyes, Ronan was no more. I was alone under the starlit sky, feeling completely warm in spite of the blowing wind and the ice cold waters.
- || - || - || - || -
"Excuse me, but do you know someone named Ronan?"
I spent the next morning looking for him, much to no avail. Nobody in the beach knew who he was. Most people simply stared at me in disbelief when I tried to describe him to them. Beach regulars told me to stop my search and return home. They told me I was beginning to look like an idiot, speaking of some perfect person who did not even exist. At one point, I almost agreed to them. Perhaps I was truly an idiot. Perhaps I had only imagined him. Perhaps Ronan never really did exist.
But my entire body seemed to think otherwise. His touch and warmth lingered within me, persistently convincing me that what happened last night wasn't just part of my imagination. His sweet caresses were still very clear to me as were his passionate kisses. I remembered everything about him very well, too well that I was desperate to see him once more.
Suddenly, I felt a wet touch upon my left leg. It was followed by gentle tickling and then, the soft feel of…fur.
I looked down and caught sight of a fur seal, slightly curled up around my leg. For some reason, it was fondling me with its wet muzzle all the while tickling me with the touch of its whiskers. Though it was a big in size, it was an adorable creature, so adorable that I just couldn't help but smile.
"Hi there," I cooed, kneeling down on the sand and gently patting the seal on the head. I ran my fingers through the seal's thick dark brown fur, taking delight at how the little critter seem to love my touch. "Swam ashore, did you? Mating season already?"
The seal gave out a cheerful yelp, clapping together its flippers. I laughed at its cuteness, thinking how it seemed to be answering my questions through its happy squeals.
I was patting my new seal friend once more when I noticed it. The big round eyes of the fur seal were strangely familiar. There was no way I would fail to recognize that hazel glow…
"Ronan…" I breathed. Then, realizing what I had just said, I immediately felt sorry for myself. Was I that infatuated with him - to the point that even the eyes of fur seals make me think of him? I was so pitiful, hanging on to the memory of a guy who granted me one heck of a night, a short moment of comfort to soothe my broken heart.
He certainly managed to soothe me. In fact, in the process, he had even made my heart whole again. But did he really have to capture it for himself? I shook my head, embarrassed about my own weakness. Why on earth did I fall for a guy so easily?
My seal friend looked at me with his big round eyes, wearing an expression that seemed to show both concern and worry. Animals truly had excellent instincts. It was probably sensing my depressed state. I smiled and gave the seal one last pat before finally making my way back to my family beach house, which was found not far from the seashore.
There, I found my mother in the living room, browsing through an old family album. Stuff like that were supposed to have been brought to our main house in the city after we had decided to leave the seaside for good but there were apparently still some that had been left behind.
"Ma, I'm back," I announced, approaching my mother and giving her a quick kiss. "What are you looking at?"
"Pictures from the time we still lived here," my mother replied, scooting towards the right of the sofa so as to make room for me to sit beside her. "I think these were taken about seven years ago, back when you were ten-years-old." She placed the photo album in between us so I could see clearly.
I quickly browsed through the album. There were pictures of the ten-year-old me swimming, building sandcastles and collecting seashells. There were pictures of my mom and dad, and there were some of us three together. Our every moment in the beach had been captured on film, showing just how much we treasured our seaside life.
One particular picture caught my attention. It showed me on top of a boulder on the rockier parts of the beach. I had this wide grin on my face while kneeling down with my arms wrapped around a cute-looking fur seal. Somehow, unlike all the other photographs, the memory that particular picture carried just didn't register to me. I couldn't recall it ever happening.
My mother apparently noticed how I seemed to have stared at the picture. "Ah. I remember that moment quite well." She gave out a chuckle. "You loved that little seal dearly. You treated it like your own special pet. You even gave it a name! Now, let's see if I can remember… Hmm… Ah! That's right…"
"You named it Ronan."
- || - || - || - || -
Everything came back to me. I recalled what happened seven years ago. The memories that had once been erased all returned.
I was ten-years-old then and I spent most of my days by the seashore. I would swim. I would build sandcastles. I would collect seashells. Those three actions were all part of my daily routine.
Eventually, I got tired of it all. I decided to become a little adventurous. I immediately thought of the eastern side of the beach, which was filled with tons of rock and boulder formations. I hadn't explored that area yet and I was hoping for some new discoveries.
A new discovery was indeed what I found. In a secluded area, surrounded by some of the biggest rock formations in the beach, a young fur seal was lying down motionless. I panicked, fearing that the creature might be hurt and considered calling out for help. But then, it suddenly jumped awake, probably sensing my presence.
Upon seeing me, the seal began yelping in panic. It was scared, obviously thinking that I may be some kind of predator. But back then, I was too naïve that I also got scared of the seal's sudden outburst. In the verge of tears, I crouched down, placed my arms over my head and prepared for the worst.
But the worst didn't come. In fact, the seal had even stopped its yelping. It had clumsily made its way to my side and when I looked up at it, it stared back at me with its big round eyes. I yelled out in surprise, staggered and completely lost my balance, thus falling into the waters.
Unfortunately, the waters in that area were too deep for ten-year-old me. Even though I was a fairly good swimmer, I just couldn't manage to resurface myself, no matter how hard I tried. I grew weaker and weaker until I eventually just succumbed to the depth of the waters. As I continued on descending, I closed my eyes, thinking there was no hope left for me. I was going to drown. I was going to die.
But then, when I finally opened my eyes again, I found myself holding on to the furry back of the young fur seal. It was pulling me back towards the shore.
On that day, the young fur seal saved my life and from then on, I regarded the creature as a friend, even giving it a name - Ronan, which meant 'little seal'. I came to play with it every day. The seal seemed to enjoy my company and in turn, I was glad to spend time with it, having grown much attached to it.
But the day came when we finally had to move out of our seaside home. I was downtrodden. Moving would mean that I wouldn't be able to play with my little seal friend anymore.
The day prior to our move, I visited Ronan for the last time.
"It looks like this is our last day together. I won't be able to play with you anymore." I started patting my little friend only to end up wrapping my arms around the creature in a tight embrace. As tears fell from my eyes, I realized how I truly had grown to love the young fur seal.
I continued on crying but soon, I noticed that I no longer felt the soft, warm feel of seal fur despite my firm embrace. What I felt was smooth human flesh. Realizing this, I immediately released my hold and found out that in the place of my little seal friend, I had been embracing a young boy instead.
"W-Who are you? W-Why…?"
The young boy smiled and placed a finger on my lips, his way of telling me to keep quiet. "Don't be scared, Maya. It's me, Ronan." He pointed at the spread of fur laid over his lap. "I just, um, took off my sealskin."
Ronan? This boy's my little seal friend? It was then that I noticed the boy's eyes. They were big, round and shining hazel, exactly like Ronan's. As for his hair, they were the same color as the fur he had on his lap, which were dark brown, the very shade of Ronan's.
The idea was a bit farfetched but the more I looked at the young boy in front of me, the more I was reminded of the young fur seal I loved. Indeed, he must be Ronan…
"Did you mean what you said, Maya?" Ronan - the young boy - asked with a remorseful expression on his face. "Is today really our last day together?"
"Yeah. I'm afraid so." At the moment, the tears returned to me and I was crying and crying in the arms of the human Ronan. "It was already hard saying goodbye to the seal Ronan but now that I've seen you as a human, I really don't want to leave…"
"Let me stay with you, Ronan!" Maybe it was just the shock of finding out Ronan could actually turn human getting to me but true enough, I did not want to leave. I wanted to stay and spend more time with the new Ronan.
There was a short moment of silence before Ronan spoke. "I can't, Maya. You have to leave."
"But I don't want to!"
"Let me stay, Ronan! Please…"
After a deep sigh, Ronan gently removed his hold on me and asked me to look at him straight in the eyes. I immediately obeyed.
The last thing I recalled about that memory was looking into his beautiful hazel eyes. I had lost consciousness afterwards and the next thing I knew, I was already in the city, completely unaware of the young fur seal I had once regarded as a dear friend.
- || - || - || - || -
I wasted no time after getting back my memories. Leaving my bewildered mother to ponder on my crazy actions, I ran out of our family beach house. Making my feet go as fast as they could, I trudged through the sandy ground.
Ronan! Now that I had my memories back, I had gotten even more desperate to see him and this time, I knew exactly where to look for him.
When I got to the seashore, I was already panting but I struggled to keep my speed. Not at all did I slow down, even to catch my breath. I trudged on, making my way past the beach goers with only one goal in mind.
At long last, I reached the eastern part of the beach. A wooden sign had been put up, telling the people of the dangers of going near a place filled with rocks and boulders. Completely ignoring the warning, I made my way through the many boulders, following the path I had always used to tread.
Soon enough, I reached our spot, the very place where we used to play together. Sweat was running down my face as I continued panting, tired from my earlier run. I leaned against a big boulder to my right and examined the clearing found in the middle of all the rubble. The moment I caught sight of that dark brown fur, I just couldn't stop the tears from falling.
"Ronan, you're here," I breathed, stepping into the clearing. The fur seal, which I recognized to be the very same creature that I had encountered earlier in the morning, turned its head towards me, gazing at me with its round eyes. Their hazel glow made my heart race. Recognizing them to be his eyes made tears fall from my eyes uncontrollably. "Won't you please change into your human form? I want to hear your voice…"
The fur seal did not as much as move from its position near the waters. It continued looking at me, watching as I continued crying my heart out. "Come on, Ronan…" I said, practically begging for its transformation as I continued my slow but continuous approach. "Please…"
It happened so swiftly that if I hadn't been watching very closely, I wouldn't have seen it happen. The young seal in front of me was changing form. It was as if the seal appearance was only a result of a costume worn. The sealskin fell off, down to the shingles on the ground. In the place of the fur seal, there now sat a breathtaking young man. He had his back turned at me and I could very well tell that he was turning away on purpose.
"Ronan! It's really you…" I fell down to my knees, bursting into even more tears. "You….idiot! Seven years ago, why...? Why did you erase my memories? Why did you make me forget about you?"
I heard him sigh deeply. "Who are you calling an idiot? You're the idiot. Do you realize that you just made me transform and now, I'm sitting a few inches from you, completely naked?" His velvet voice sounded shaky, revealing his embarrassment. "And you had just to do it in the middle of the afternoon! Couldn't you have waited until it got dark?"
He seemed so different from the human Ronan of last night. This Ronan seemed so innocent, so naïve, so cute. Wiping the tears off my face, I made an effort to get the conversation ongoing. "You're saying that I transformed you? I transformed you?"
"Of course you did! Male selkies like me can't turn from seal to human at will. Whether we get to change form or not depends on the tears shed by women on the seashore," he explained, taking hold of the sealskin he had just cast off and wrapping it around his waist, probably as an effort to ease his embarrassment. "You were crying just now, weren't you? That made me shed my sealskin. Same goes for what happened last night and seven years ago."
Then, he slowly stood up and turned to face me. I completely turned breathless upon the sight of his perfect face. "I'm glad you remember me now, Maya. What I did seven years ago - erasing your memories and all - was regrettable. I mean, even I suffered from it. To think that I would make my precious girl forget about me… I'm surprised I was able to deal with it for ten whole years!" Ronan gave out a laugh.
Soon recovering, Ronan motioned for me to come and approach him. I did as he wanted and walked towards him, positioning myself just a few inches away in front of him. Ronan reached for my hands. He pressed them tightly and raised them up to his tender lips, kissing them gently. I shivered at his actions, my heart beating wildly at his touch.
"Maya, I can't stay a human for too long. An hour or so is all I have to spend in this form," Ronan said with an expression of melancholy. He pressed my hands tightly. "I have to tell you this while I can. I… I love you, Maya. Since seven years ago, I have always been in love with you."
The moment I heard those magical words escape from his lips, I wrapped my arms around his neck and embraced him tightly. "I love you too, Ronan."
"M-Maya! W-What are you saying? I'm an animal, remember? I…"
"I love everything about you, Ronan. I love you as a seal. I love you as a human. No matter what form you take, my feelings for you would remain the same." I tightened my hold on Ronan and he returned my embrace. He repeatedly whispered his thanks and love, his voice sounding so passionate.
"Maya, you don't know how I happy I am to have heard those words from you," Ronan said, gently pulling away from our embrace. He caressed my cheeks, smiling widely as he did. "Now, I no longer have a reason to hesitate."
Slowly, Ronan made his way into the waters. He walked farther and farther until he completely descended and disappeared into the waters.
"Ronan!" I exclaimed in fright. I waited for him to resurface but instead of Ronan, what appeared was a bright light that seemed to be gradually increasing in intensity. Not long after though, the light dispersed, revealing an unchanged Ronan. Or at least, that was what I thought…
"What was that just now? Quit scaring me, Ronan, and come back here!" I yelled.
He grinned. "Of course, Maya…" Then, Ronan started swimming back to shore. His whole body dripping wet, he approached me, all the while wearing that wide grin on his face.
What on earth was he smiling about? I flashed a frown as I looked at him from top to bottom. His hair remained the same, still dark brown and still a bit long. There weren't any changes in his perfect face and body. There was nothing strange about the same white swimming trunks he was wearing and as for his legs, they… Wait! He was wearing swimming trunks?!
"Where did you get those swimming trunks?"
"I keep a couple of them in my water abode. I simply changed into one."
"But, where's your sealskin?" I asked in panic. I was no stranger to the old folktales and legends. Since Ronan was a selkie, he needed his sealskin to change back into his original form. Without it, he could not return to his mystical world underwater.
"I don't have it anymore. I just permanently got rid of it!" He took me into his arms in joyous laughter. "I'm a human now, Maya! I can stay with you! I will…"
Ronan didn't get the chance to finish what he was saying for I had deliberately cut him off by pounding his bare chest with my fists. "What are you saying? Do you know what losing your sealskin means, huh? Without it, you won't be able to…"
"I won't be able to revert back to my seal form. I won't be able to return to my home underwater. I won't be able to use any more powers, like manipulating your memories. And also, I won't be able to leave your side anymore..."
Male selkies were supposed to be incredibly cunning. Since they were gifted with undoubtedly handsome features, they were known for being great seducers of women, especially those with broken hearts. And indeed, mortal women were weak against their charms.
But this selkie, the one that I had fallen for, that was standing in front of me with his arms wrapped around my body, was actually saying that he won't leave my side - that he had given up his life underwater just so he could stay by my side. How unbelievable…
"What is it, Maya?"
"For you never to leave my side… Is that a promise?
He gave out a chuckle. "Of course it is." Then, he surprised me by suddenly lifting me off my feet. I gasped in surprise, wrapping my arms around his neck so as to steady myself in his hold. Carrying me with such ease, he walked towards the sea.
"How about you, Maya? Do you also promise never to leave my side?"
His expression he wore when he asked those questions was so adorable that I couldn't help but giggle. When he eyed me with a curious look, I gently took hold of his face, my fingers loving the feeling of his flawless cheeks. I gazed into his eyes and replied, "I do. I promise."
"Then, shall we seal our promises now, Maya?"
"Huh? What do you…?"
His tender lips met mine in a passionate kiss. I tightened my hold on him as I kissed him back, relishing the perfection of the moment. We had reached the deeper waters but neither of us made a move to stop and let go. We fell into the waters, still trapped that magical moment.
Indeed, our promises had been sealed.
Sealed with a kiss.