Chapter 1 // Episode 3 - On Her Own

 Credits & source: Photo by Warren-heath | via I nside Out magazine

Credits & source: Photo by Warren-heath | via Inside Out magazine

She ran her hand under water watching the liquid coat her fingers momentarily and disappear again into the basin. Jul would use the salty water from rinsing herself after her swim to water the vegetable garden. Nothing to be wasted. She often pondered the sink faucet, a quiet relic, trying to imagine what drove people of the past to require a never-ending flux of water. 

"Take only what you need and give back the same amount."

This is one of the rules people of the islands lived by. To fit into the living ecosystem seamlessly without disturbing it's flow. Jul felt calm with this logic.  

Morning light already streaming in through large glass doors. This signaled the beginning of the work day on the island and Jul would spend it taking care of her sheep. These sheep provided older people with wool to spin threads as they sat together chatting and spinning. The sheep provided milk and meat for the food makers of the island. The sheep provided lanolin for the healers to make balms. The sheep provided Jul with a strong daily purpose. 

She always knew that her place was on the island. Still it hurt when her parents sailed when she was just a little girl. They were engineers, they were needed on other islands to construct and rebuild, to share knowledge with others and pool it together in an effort to re-think what it means to build. It had to be done carefully as not to repeat the mistakes of the past. 

They had to sail. It still hurt. Selfishly. Humanly. 

Twelve months ago someone else sailed. Him, who she loved. It was time for him to join others across the horizon to continue studying chemistry. She can still see his grey eyes as if two small pools of sea water separated from the whole. Yearning for something, just like the sea water lapping at the boards of the ship. She could see how he belonged to the voyage. She just hoped the sea would give him back soon. Thin gold band on her finger marking his promise to come back. Her alchemist.

Many have sailed but she was never tempted to go off to a new place, she knew that she was needed on her island, to tend the sheep, to take care of the elderly. To teach the children about their island. To ensure the waves did not claim it. And finally, someone had to remain to receive those that have sailed and would one day return. She hoped soon. 

The sea takes, and the sea gives. 

Alla Feldman