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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A woman escapes to the ocean, seeking freedomand finds a sorrowful end to her quest

Submitted: March 27, 2017

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Submitted: March 27, 2017




Five hundred a year stands for the power to contemplate....A lock on the door means the power to think for oneself. - Virginia Wolfe

The phrase rang in Emma’s ears, although she was not sure this ramshackle cottage was what Wolfe had meant.  Yet it was here and so was she, so here she must start. So far from where she had once begun, the posh side of the world, full of boutiques and travel and lovely gentlemen who turned out to be not so,well lets not go there, she thought ruefully.  The past was the past and this little place, rented for the year, with everything she had left in this world, was her future. 

A shutter clattered outside loudly somewhere, announcing her arrival in this lone little solitude.A place she had brought herself to, after she had run from him, the  night she had realized she should have run long ago. It had been quite an expansive journey all told.  Although a silent one. 

She had taken her tickets, the one for the summer train trip which would now not occur, and the bonds her father had left and traded them in for cash, cold hard cash.  Something women in her circles rarely discussed but she quickly realized after her three year marriage to Reginald,  something  that ruled her life.

There was no one who knew where she was, that first night even she wasnt sure where she was going, except the sea, the ocean, it had always offered a comforting solace to her nerves, the lapping of the waves, the calling of the gulls, she had heard them all every summer as a child.  So now it seemed they called her back.  Here, to begin again.  To clear her head.  To think for herself, a new thought.  A thought not dictated by society, or her  girlfriends or the hundreds of men in her life.

A place to  be her, Emma, whoever that was.  And she decided defiantly it was time to figure  that out.  A broom leaned against one corner, near the fireplace.Emma picked it up and started sweeping. With the dust of unused years flying by, Emma smiled thinking of her escape.The stationmaster, she was sure, seemed more than a little surprised to see such a well dressed lady, so late at night at his station.  With her wanting a trip to York Beach in October of all things too.  Tourists were not known to frequent

that area this time of the year he reminded her, Which she thought is why she wanted to go.  To be alone.  To relish her aloneness, her solitude, her new found independence.  She would be found, he would find her anyway.  He did not seem to be one who gave up any of his possessions easily.She would challenge him when he came, stand firm on this little space of  now shining earth she had  created for herself. She stepped out outside to smell the sea air, when she noticed it, a seagull feather drifting lazily, on unseen drifts of air.  Waving goodbye to the season that was, ushering in the season that was yet to be.Once it had landed by her feet, she casually picked it up, this symbol she decided, of her new life, her new freedom.

The sea beckoned and the housework would wait.  She laid the feather on her sketch pad.  Her passion and her freedom, now lay side by side on her bed.  She smiled at these symbols, both so different, yet so an integral part of her. 

She quickly changed into her bathing suit.For the third of October it was unseasonably warm, a bit of an Indian summer and she was determined to embrace the weather as much as herself.She skipped down a path toward the sprawling sand which soon greeted her feet.Emma marveled at the blue expanse in front of her and how the  air could smell so strongly of autumn while beneath her feet summer still lingered. 

She came to the water tentatively at first, then dove in, much as she had lived her life up to this point.  The waves embraced Emma’s thoughts as she lazily swam a backstroke, looking up at the fall sky.  The gulls circled her, announcing her independence to anyone who would listen.She thought of what could be now.  The future brighter than it had ever been before, which would be hers and hers alone to do with as she pleased.The ocean water seemed to urge her on, the waves as strong as the  future dreams which now sustained her, carrying her to a freedom which seemed as sure as the world itself.Every sound of the wave stronger and stronger against  her white skin, pushed her further and further into possibilities and further and further from shore. 

  It is said the riptide at York was particularly fierce that October.  Indeed Emma found it so as she fought it.  Only when she exhausted herself and let the waves take control did she find the truth, that  life itself brought choices to gain freedom,  Yet within that independence were dangers, pitfalls, riptides as it were.  Some seen, some not, yet always present always lurking, always waiting to take away your freedom, the moment you had found it once again,.

There was not much to be found when the landlord came to collect the rent at the end of October.  The weather had suddenly turned cold earlier in the month, almost as if the very life of summer had succumb to the dreariness of the fall.  The landlord let out a sigh, another tenant skipped out on him. He picked up the sketch pad with the feather on top of it.  As he locked the door tight and walked down the steps, the  feather slipped from his fingers, blown away on a sudden gust of wind toward the ocean, toward freedom, toward home.

© Copyright 2018 Carla Charter. All rights reserved.

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