Aveny didn’t go out at night – at first. She clung to the safe confines of her bed, limiting her adventures to the daylight hours. This concession appeased her guilt. She didn’t know what she would have done if the accident had taken place at night. There would have been no explanation.
The fact that this lack of explanation – and not her own survival – factored first into her reasoning was profound in and of itself.
But it wasn’t easy. She missed the moon’s soft rays gently stroking the waving sound. She longed to feel its silvery light coating her flesh, enlivening her soul. Plunging into the velvety black water beneath its ethereal glow was unlike anything Aveny had ever experienced before.
She missed it.
And she missed the silence.
It was the loudest silence she had ever known – and the most tranquil. The sub-aquatic space resonated with the strange sounds of its nocturnal residents, all united in a strange pacifying hum that wasn’t present during the day. The moon muffled and quelled her inner cacophony. It was a solitude so profound, even her thoughts didn’t dare interfere.
She was truly free in those moments. She didn’t chase whims of curiosity or flights of fancy in the dark hours of night. She merely sank into the inky black and ceased, for a few sweet, cleansing hours, to exist at all.
When she’d had her fill; when she felt life sparking within her like the first embers of a burning fire – she’d emerge, sparkling water cascading thickly down her back. The soft rush divided in rivers, twinkling in the moon’s glow – reflecting it, reflecting her. Aveny had never felt as calm or clear as she did in those moments.
There was no fear.
But Aveny also knew there were risks. So, she stayed home. She waited. She was stalwart in her commitment to safety …
Desire, like her need to return to the sea in the first place, won out in the end. There was no bold foreshadowing, no defining moment, no plan. One night, she simply slipped out of bed and walked away. No one heard her go. Not even herself.
From then on, she continued her nocturnal affair, venturing out every few nights to dissolve into the moonlit sea – when Brand was at work and Miriam and the kids were peacefully slumbering.
She was being careful. At least that’s what she told herself. It was hard to remember which was more reckless, the sea or remaining safely in her own bed.
No one knew why but it was impossible to deny the change. Aveny’s flaring temper, so unbearable over the months of her long confinement, cooled overnight. Her home became harmonious.
The transition was so profound, that one night at dinner, Brand asked Miriam when she’d be returning home. Aveny was surprised and pleased when Miriam waved her hand in a dismissive way and said, “You’re my family. This is right where I belong. And, for now, this is right where I’ll stay. Don’t you worry one little bit.”
Despite Brand’s eagerness to reclaim his home, everything was easier with Miriam around – especially for Aveny. With all Miriam’s eccentricities, she wasn’t exactly an easy houseguest (the kitchen now had more strange looking plants than cookware and there was an unidentifiable smell continuously wafting from the guest room) but her calming presence, upbeat attitude, and most importantly, free babysitting and dinner making was more than enough to compensate.
As Aveny took another bite of Miriam’s beet and cucumber slaw, she sighed contentedly. All was right with the world. Her family was happy and safe – and Aveny was finally whole.