The Heart of the Ocean

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A Friday Night


“I was born to be wild.

(But only until 9 pm or so...)

-Unknown


Time flew fast. Before she realized it, the week was drawing to a close. Aide was so caught up with all the school work that she didn’t notice when Friday came around. The multiple assignments kept her on her feet, demanding her attention and constantly stressing her out. In all honesty, she was extremely tired and a bit grumpy -she had finally reached her limit. When the sound of the last bell echoed in her ears, she couldn’t help but feel a tidal wave of relief.

She had packed her things as soon as possible, before running out of the old building and heading home. After she had basically inhaled her food -much to her Nana’s amusement, she had locked herself in her room taking a much-needed nap. She had just woken up -the last rays of the sun had managed to slip through her window and caress her face. She refused to leave the safe cocoon of warmth that was her bed -her face was buried in her soft blanket as she was contemplating her life decisions.

She was seriously considering calling Petra and canceling their plans. Why did she even agree to go to that stupid party in the first place? She sighed deeply, rubbing her tired eyes with her palms. She knew she’d regret her decision eventually. She just wanted to grab her favorite snacks and have a movie marathon until she had fallen asleep. Leaving the warmth of her bed seemed like a torturous task at the moment -especially, since she knew she’d probably freeze and be sick by the end of this day. She took a deep breath and grabbed her phone. Her fingers hovered above the screen, ready to type the familiar number.

Her fingers trembled as she typed the first two digits. She watched them for a moment before she quickly deleted them. She threw her phone on the soft blanket as she groaned in disappointment. She couldn’t do it -the guilt was eating her from inside out. She knew she couldn’t let her friend down, especially when she had agreed to this and filled her with hope. She should have refused when she had the chance, not two hours before the event. Petra would be devastated.

The blonde had probably spent so much time preparing for the party. Aide knew her well enough that she could almost visualize the mountain of clothes upon her bed as she tried to find the suitable outfit. She would have sat for hours in front of her bedroom mirror, just to make sure her hair and makeup were in perfect order. Perhaps, she even had another fight with her mother -there was no way Mrs. Bresset would let her daughter leave her household without firstly interrogating her. And Petra had probably put up with her frustrating questions and controlled her comments, so she would let her go to the party.

She was acting like every teenage girl who was about to meet her crush -fidgeting with excitement and filled with nervousness. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest as she played anxiously with her fingers. Her eyes kept taking glances at the clock’s pointers -probably, wanting to murder them for their slow pace. She wanted to open the front door and run all the way to the beach. No! She couldn’t do that! Her hair would become messy and the sweat could ruin her makeup. She would have to slow down, even though she wanted to speed up.

What kind of friend would Aide be, if she let her down?

The brunette screamed in her pillow in annoyance. She couldn’t back down, no matter how much she wanted to. She decided it was time to leave the warmth of her bed and honor her promise. The chilly air of her room made contact with her warm skin, making her shiver at the different temperatures. After muttering a few curses, she rummaged through her closet trying to find something to wear.

Honestly, it didn’t take her long -she didn’t care about it too much. She wanted to be presentable but she also appreciated her comfort. She had no intention to catch a cold because a brainless idiot decided to throw a beach party in October. That’s how she ended up staring herself in the mirror, wearing a pair of blue jeans and a white blouse. She put her chocolate strands in a messy ponytail, before attempting to erase the evidence of her tiredness with concealer. A blue knitted jacket completed her look, although she still felt like something was missing.

Suddenly, her gaze fell on her bedside table as if driven by pure instinct. Her heartbeat increased as she slowly opened the drawer. She pulled out the familiar necklace, her fingers caressing the blue seashell gently. Her breathing hitched as the thought crossed her mind. Should she wear it? She never had -she never dared before. She didn’t know if it was the best idea. The necklace was a bringer of mixed feelings and past memories. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She just didn’t know if she was ready to face them.

“You should wear it.”

Her gaze snapped to the door as her palm closed protectively over the object.

“It goes well with your outfit”, Alexandra shrugged her shoulders.

“Perhaps”, she nodded, “But I don’t think I can.”

A sudden laugh made her relax slightly. Her Nana’s figure was leaning against her bedroom door, staring at her in amusement.

“Why not?“, she asked, “It’s a beautiful necklace -it suits you. It’s a shame to keep it in a drawer when you can have it around your neck, my dear!”

“You know why, Nana”, Aide sighed.

The elder’s eyes softened.

“I know it’s the last gift your father gave to you”, Nana smiled at the memory, “You used to be so excited about that seashell of yours -you would carry it everywhere with you. So, your father made sure you’ll never lose it.”

Alexandra entered the room and made herself comfortable on Aide’s unmade bed. She gave her a pointed look as she peered at the tangled blankets and the empty food packages on her bedside table. Aide inwardly cringed.

“I know it hurts you to know that they are gone and never coming back. Believe me, I do”, Nana smiled sadly as she looked at the wedding ring on her finger.

Aide took a seat beside her.

“But I also know that your parents would want you to be happy”, Alexandra patted her knee, “Mourning over the past won’t help you shape a happier future. You have to let go in order to move forward.”

“It’s just...“, Aide bit her lip, “I’m tired of watching people leave. It hurts more than I want to admit. I don’t know how you can handle it, Nana. You are obviously stronger than me.”

Alexandra sighed deeply, before shaking her head.

“When I lost your grandfather, I felt like my world had come to an end. I loved him so much -I couldn’t imagine a life without him”, she admitted for the very first time.

Aide was shocked -her Nana had never talked to her about her grandfather. She had tried to ask her about him many times before, but it was a delicate matter. At one point, she decided there was no way she would learn anything about him and just stopped asking. Nana was more than relieved.

“When Colvert died, I was heartbroken”, Alexandra gave her a saddened smile, “No matter how many years have passed, I still miss him. But do you know what I realized?”

Aide listened to her carefully.

“You never lose the people you love -not really.”

Alexandra smiled softly at her granddaughter. She carefully opened her palm, taking hold of her precious necklace. The old woman placed it around Aide’s neck, letting the beautiful shell fall on her chest -just above her heart.

“Your beloveds will always be with you. By loving them, you’ve created a safe haven in your heart for them. And that’s where they continue to live.”

Aide sighed at her words, before playing nervously with her fingers.

“It’s not just that...“, she mumbled.

“Please, don’t tell me it’s about that merman”, Nana chuckled.

“Well, it is”, Aide blushed furiously.

“We’ve been over this, my dear”, Alexandra squeezed her shoulders gently, “You almost drowned as a child. At that time, ‘The Little Mermaid’ was your favorite Disney movie. Therefore, your brain created this illusion to help you deal with the trauma.”

Aide let a frustrated sigh.

“I know what I saw, Nana!“, she insisted.

“Mermaids do not exist, Aide”, Alexandra narrowed her eyes, “You’re almost an adult, you can’t seriously believe they are real!”

Aide huffed in annoyance. She knew that it sounded utterly absurd and unlikely. Hell, if someone else told her mermaids are real, she would probably run for the hills! However, this time, she had seen it with her own eyes. She knew what she had seen -she knew it was real! She didn’t have any logical explanation for it, which is probably why Nana believed she had imagined it. She sounded like a mad person, but she was sure of what she had seen. It was real!

It had to be!

It couldn’t all be a creation of her imagination; the pond, the merman, the seashell. Hell, the seashell -she was currently wearing it! She touched it gently, wanting to make sure it was still there. She knew no one believed her, but she wouldn’t back down. No matter how many times everyone told her it wasn’t real, she’d keep that hope close to her heart.

“Anyway”, Nana cleared her throat, “You should wear it.”

Standing up, the elder kissed her forehead before making her way towards the door. Just as she grasped the metallic knob, she turned her head to the side remembering something else.

“Oh, and Aide?”

The young lady looked at her grandmother questioningly.

“Keep it close to your heart.”

She let her fingers grasp the blue shell as her grandmother’s footsteps faded in the hallway. Shaking her head, she looked at the clock on her bedside table. Her eyes widened as the pointers made her realize she was already late.

“Shoot”, she jumped up quickly, “Petra is so gonna kill me!”

Quickly descending the wooden stairs, she made a bee-line towards the front door. In her haste, she tried to put on her shoes without untying the laces as she believed it would gain her some time. It only caused her more trouble as her task became even more difficult. Her grandmother couldn’t help but laugh.

“It’s not funny, Nana!“, Aide greeted her teeth.

“Sure, it isn’t”, the elder smirked, “Did you know you look like a chicken when you jump like that?”

Aide gave her a glare.

“A roasted chicken, nonetheless”, Alexandra shrugged her shoulders.

Finally, she managed to put the damn shoes on. Alexandra turned her head to the side expectedly, smiling when she received a kiss on the cheek. She watched as the girl ran out of the door, yelling a quick ′Goodnight, Nana! Don’t wait for me!’. The elder shook her head in amusement before closing the front door.

At last, she could finally have some peace and quiet! Alexandra was about to head to the living-room, having every intention to sink in her beloved armchair. She would watch that new TV show, while she drunk her favorite cup of tea. Her eyes widened and she stopped abruptly in her tracks. Turning around, she made her way towards the entrance as fast as her old legs would allow her. She could only hope to get a hold of the girl before she disappeared. Opening the door, she stuck her head out watching the figure of her granddaughter running down the empty street.

“Do not get close to the water, Aide!“, she yelled with all her might.

Her reminder echoed in the darkness of the night.

“You don’t know how to swim!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

End of chapter 6!!

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