Her Scales
The water was calling me.
In this small town called Louise Lane, we are but a small neighborhood where everyone knows each other. It may have always been a gloomy place since the sun was rarely seen but it was also quite a tourist attraction because of the wide beach near the ocean. The profession here was all but a small range of occupation and one of them was being a lifeguard.
I came to this town looking for a distraction from my busy city life and I found my answer in surfing. I became a lifeguard not too long ago after meeting a friend of mine, Luna. She was also a lifeguard who loves the ocean and had the free spirit of life. I met her 3 years back while I was looking for a place to stay. Luna, was the only female lifeguard and had a free room in her apartment. That was how I ended up staying here, living here and also getting a job.
Life here is peaceful. Maybe that was the reason why I never wanted to leave. However, little did I know, that me, being here was the destiny I never expected.
Our daily routine would normally start by cleaning the beach before it’s opened to the public and then we’ll have to take turn in guarding. However, today, we skipped the cleaning and had an early meeting. To my surprise, Luna was absent. She was always a jolly and bright person despite her circumstances at home and was dedicated to her work. But for the first time, she was neither here nor at home.
When the day ended, I decided to look for her in her family house which was a bit outskirt from the town but upon returning home to change, she was on the couch with the blanket on- watching television.
"I didn’t see you today in the meeting.” I asked.
“I was visiting my home.” She answered, blankly.
“Did you leave last night while I was sleeping?”
“Yeah, I did.” She smiled, “Are you sad that I left you alone?” She stared at me with a grin on her face.
“As if.” I turned away to go to my room. “I was happy you weren’t at work because you whined too much.” I entered my room, hearing her whining again from my back.
The next day was same as the usual days we had. The work wasn’t that much and even if there were plenty of people on the beach, we were able to do our work diligently.
The thing about Luna and I, is that we’re good friends but she was someone who doesn’t want to trouble others with the problem regarding her family affairs. The only thing I knew was that she never had the same footing with her father. Her mother died when she was young and ever since, her father started drinking to the brim. He was always drunk and often times, he would hit Luna. At the beginning, she told me that she would cry, begging for him to come to his senses but as she grew older, her tears began to disappear. Somehow the pain, just became bearable. She was so strong that while telling me all this, she showed me her scars, she smiled and often said, “I was made differently than other kids because I survived.”
From the past 3 years that I knew her, she had never once showed her pain on her face. She welcomed everything with an open heart and smile. However, at times when she was all alone at the beach; like now, I could see from a distance that she was always staring blankly towards the ocean. She looked lost and confused, as if, she could not decide whether to leave or to stay.
"What are you looking at?” I went towards her.
“At the sunset.”
“It’s beautiful, right?” I looked at her.
“Very.” She smiled swiftly before walking away, “You know?” She stared at her feet while walking. “Have you ever felt lonely in life?”
“I have.” We stared at each other.
“When was that?”
“When I was in the city.” She waited for me to speak again. “I didn’t know that I couldn’t love myself as much as I thought I could, until I found myself all alone in my apartment drowning in my bath tub, ready to give up everything.”
“I see.” She went silent.
Those two words were enough. ‘I see’, were her way of understanding my feelings. She knew that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore and also knew that it was a pain that no one can easily share with anyone. It was a pain that one goes through and want someone to not question or show any pity. A pain that we want to get off our shoulder with no judgement.
Later on, it appeared that Luna have started coming home late or she would start to disappear out of the blue. I didn’t have the courage in me to ask her anymore. It was weak of me if you think but the truth was, we were friends but more than anything we were also only strangers to one another. We were just adults trying to find the right answer to our life, trying our best to find happiness.
It was 3:45 in the morning with heavy rain and strong storm. But what woke me up was the sound of Luna throwing up in the bathroom. I rushed for help, only to see her head rising out with a smile and grin on her face. We both sat down, staring blankly at one another. And once I crouch down, I began to notice her bruised legs. Her thighs were blue and deeply swollen up till her ankle. It was a sight I can never get out of my head. She could see the horror on my face and hurriedly spoke to me with the most unexpected words.
"It’s not what you think!” My eyes met hers.
“Why?” That was the only word I could asked.
“Why didn’t I say anything?” She looked at her legs, “I didn’t know from where should I start.”
Was it too late? That was all I could thought to myself. Maybe all these 3 years, I could have done something. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know what I was looking at. But if there was one thing I could do, was to never ask her anything. Luna never intended to show me, it was I who caught her.
The room was filled with silence. We could hear the rain hitting the roof and blowing along with the wind. What could break this silence, I wondered? With a silent glare, Luna looked at me and broke the silent.
“Why do you like this town?” It took me by surprised. “Why did you decide to stay here? It’s only a small town”
“It’s small but I feel like I could hide in here forever.” I answered. “The world seems too big for me out there.”
“You know that you can never hide forever. Even this small town will one day grow big and many things will change.” She smiled like I was the one in pain. Like I was the one who needed comfort.
Following that day onward, Luna was either seen sitting by the beach or inside the bathtub of the house. She was always lost in thoughts. I wonder what her mind is occupied with? But what I never expected was, that was the last sight I saw of her.
The sky was roaring like the Gods were having an argument, throwing thunders around making it a frightening night. By the time I reached home the apartment was dead silent. The lights were out and there was no sign of Luna. At first I shrugged it off. I was getting used to her sudden disappearance and appearance every time she was out. However, the monsoon was longer than I anticipated. It has been going on for more than four days and there were no signs of her.
I took my keys from the table and started my car. This time around, I didn’t want to leave any regrets behind. It was time for me to leave my comfort and my ignorance all behind. I stared at the steering wheel for the first time. The last time I stared at it was 3 years ago, upon my arrival in this town. Here I was, finally, trying to leave towards the outskirt of this town.
Luna’s father was not a friendly person, he never was. This was the only thing I knew about him. The town’s people would talk about him but they would never spill Luna’s name in the conversation because even they knew, a child like her was a blessing for him.
It was a 40 minutes’ drive but I made it. The house was silent, full of wild weeds growing around and it looked like it was half abandoned. I went and bang on the door as loudly as possible. The loud rain might have covered my banging but it was still audible that a half sober man came to the door- with an annoyed and disbelief face. He stared for a moment and popped his head out of the door, swiftly looking left and right, bringing it back to my face.
“What do you want?” He shouted.
“I’m looking for Luna.” I shouted back. “Where is she?”
His face of annoyance changed drastically to someone with disgust and he suddenly started laughing by himself. When he was done, his hand scanned for a bottle which still contain some liquor and quickly began gulping. He turned back at me and pointed his finger.
“Listen kid, I don’t know what you think you’re doing but you should know one thing,” He came closer, “That girl have never visited all these years after she left. In fact, I haven’t even seen her or heard her name in many years.” With that, he shut the door to my face, leaving me dumbfounded.
I rushed back to my car and thought of all the places she could have gone. Where was she all this time? No, more importantly, where could she be now? My mind couldn’t understand what was happening. She said she was visiting her home but where was she this whole time? Did she have a different home I didn’t know? No, no matter what, I still know that her father’s place was the only home she could go to. She was my friend but why? Why did she never tell me anything? When I began to calm down, my mind began to work. I now knew, where she was and started driving back to the beach.
There was a place she used to tell me about. We went there once a while to get out of the crowded beach. It was more secluded and no one would usually go there as it was too far to walk, but, Luna and I liked that long stroll, as we could have a long talk and upon reaching the place, we would sunbathe and laughed about the memories that made us happy. If there was a place she could go to, it would be there.
I was fully drenched but my mind was not at peace with the thought of not seeing her yet. What exactly happened to the woman who smile full heartedly, the woman who understood my pain, the woman whom everyone loves and felt peace upon looking at her? I couldn’t understand what I was feeling, all I could feel is nothing but just empty void. My heart was in my throat. I couldn’t feel the cold or the heavy rain that kept hitting my face. My breath my running out, my clothes started to dragged me slowly but I kept going. When I reached the place, my heart sang in my stomach. There she was, lying down on the sandy shore.
My vision became blurry from the rain. No, not from the rain, my cheeks were running with a warm tingly water. I went towards her and laid down on her right side. I couldn’t face her. I couldn’t face myself.
“I-I was searching for you…” I choked on my words.
She was different.
“Did you missed me that much?” She spoke softly.
“I did!” For the first time, I cried. My voice cracked out sobbing like I wanted to be heard for a long time. My tears couldn’t be stopped like a child who hurt her knees from falling.
She was different but she was still Luna.
“What happened after you realized that you didn’t love yourself as much as you thought?” She asked.
“I ran away.” I poured out my heart, the guilt that was in my throat. “I couldn’t bear to see myself at my lowest. But more than anything, I couldn’t forgive myself.”
“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t see her but I knew she smiled through her tears as well. “I didn’t tell you anything because I want to be the Luna you remembered.”
“You’re still the Luna I know. My friend.” I finally turned to her and we smiled with tears.
The bruised that once were on her legs, now seemed to have spread to her whole body till her shoulders. It was a bruise that seems to have a life of its own. I turned away my face knowing my tears wouldn’t help her. She has decided what she want and it was time for me to let go of all the regrets and guilt that has been holding on to me.
Right, now that I am letting go of everything, I could finally understand something. I was feeling lonely. I forgot how that feeling felt a long time ago, now, I will be lonely again. I don’t know what I will do.
The waves were rushing in and out. I could hear the thunder, the sound of the rain hitting the sand and my body. My breathing was too loud for my soul, but it didn’t discourage me. Even in the calm, the storm is always there.
“I-“ I whispered softly, “I am not afraid of the loud world anymore.”
“Is that so?” She smiled, looking towards the sky. “I’m glad. It seems we are not afraid anymore of the things that might hurt us. We’ll be sad and get hurt but we won’t be afraid to try new things.”
Within those moments, it felt like eternity. The waves rushed in and out on us again and I was not afraid to turn my head to see Luna not there anymore. I sat up and all that was left was a trail of waves on the shore. I was alone. I burst out of tears and kept on crying. She had decided to leave and now it’s my time to face my destiny.
The sun was bright. It has been a long time now that the sun has kept shining on us. The gloomy days were long gone. The birds were flying, chirping, while the people’s voices could be heard from a far distance.
“Should I elaborate on my question, if you didn’t understand?” The reporter stared at me.
“Sorry what was the question again?” I came back to my present reality.
“Is the incident that happened 5 years ago; the one where your friend died while trying to safe you, the reason that made you dedicate your life and passion for this town and being a lifeguard?” He looked down at his diary to confirm and back at me.
"The incident 5 years ago was half the reason.” I answered.
It has been 5 years since that day. Luna was remembered as the savior who saved me, while in my memory, she was a free spirited. And the truth will stay with me until the end.
“Is there another reason?” He holds his pen ready to write down what I was about to say.
My blank yet pleased face stared at him and turned to the ocean in front of me. I smiled and answer.
“The water was calling me.”

The end.

© Frost hill