An Oath to the Sea

The sea, he is alluring.  The first time I saw him I was drunk in his spell and I longed to jump into the waters deep.  Passions rolled high and broke down fast and they crashed with a foaming mouth like a thoroughbred racing.  I was drawn to the mystery of the water, with pools of undercurrent and life looming dark, and I knew I would be loyal ‘til death.

I took an oath to the sea,

A covenant between God and the sea and me

I planted my feet on the shoreline

And swore I’d never leave.

An oath means yes and never no, and by God, that means something. So I planted my legs on the shifting sand, wiggling my toes deep for foundation.  I was a palm tree to its high currents and when hurricanes came, I’d weather them.  People came to picnic there, and I showcased his shoreline with dignity.  I sang lullabies to mermaids that came a-sunning along with whales and fish and debris.  I gazed out beyond what my eyes could see – the in and out and the pulling hard.  I loved it fierce and hard and long, waves crashing over me and I braced them.

I took an oath to the sea,

A covenant between God and the sea and me

I planted my feet on the shoreline 

And swore I’d never leave.

But a boulder disguised in surf came raging down, gashing my legs and the salt blood burned. I screamed at the horizon until my throat grew hoarse because the wind was drowning and the surf was high.  My ocean, my love, my heart and my life – can you not hear my sting? But the waves grew larger and the sea cackled loud and my trunk was caving in.

I took an oath to the sea,

A covenant between God and the sea and me

I planted my feet on the shoreline

And swore I’d never leave.

With no help my wounds grew infected and swollen, rotten fish bobbling about my ankles. It was hard to stand in such shifting sand with legs that needed amputation.  So they hacked my legs off at the knees despite my ripping and biting and fear.  They wheeled me away as I turned around, to God and to waves and to he that I loved, and I stretched out my arms wide to spread salt tears with my fingers.  I’m sorry, so sorry, that I failed you.  Because I took an oath.  I swore by my life and the blood of my stumps that I’d stand and fight and never leave.  And yet here I am with no feet to stand on and no more to give, and God is pushing me in a wheelchair.

So I lay in a hospital, so white and bare, like my dress and the color in my cheeks.

I miss summer days when you tickled my toes and I nodded to sleep by your cadence.  I long to return yet I can no longer stand so my life will remain at a distance.  I’ll look out my window and see you there, laughing at children building sandcastles and lovers walking far. How can you not notice my rotten feet, buried in your shoreline?  I have become a part of you, my skin and nails dissolving into coral.

I took an oath to the sea,

A covenant between God and the sea and me

I took an oath, and it meant something.

But what, we did not agree.

Years went by and I learned to stand, on prosthetics custom fit for a queen.  I live in the city far away from the waves, and try to focus on law and caffeine.  Yet at night when my children are fast in their beds I dream of my past, my post in the water, the waves that I let roll over.  And yet the sea, he rages and consumes and swallows up, and he will never be satisfied.

I took an oath to the sea,

Before I was a double amputee,

As God as my witness I almost died

Trying to protect you and love you and be your devotee

 

Comments

  1. Dianne DeBarros says:

    Very moving, and yet heart piercing.

  2. I LOVE your writings, always looking forward to a new email from Hill and Pen. After reading the story, An Oath to the Sea, I am curious to know if this story is true and if so, did this happen to you, Amanda?

  3. You did not fail. You are a fighter. And a winner. And those legs will regenerate. And you will sprout wings. And you’ll fly over those waves.

  4. I get this.

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