Willis can talk me through this. Why is he abandoning me now? Reaching out, I find he is unable to hide his own pain.
I see him on the beach before his awakening. A young Kristina, surfboard under-arm, running out to the water during the riptide. Willis tries to stop her. She mocks him and heads to the surf. Her board is seen hours later on the north beach, her body never found. In his tall proud frame, he carries guilt that he didn’t do more.
Deeper still, I see him standing over the body of his daughter, drowned in ankle-deep water, as Hurricane Katrina blew across his previous life. I know about “if only” kind of pain. If only I had not gotten on that motorcycle. “If only I had been a better father,” Willis thinks.
“Willis,” I call. “I sense you prying, Michael. One day, I’ll teach you some etiquette.”
In our mental conversation, it’s difficult keeping up with Kristina. I’m floundering and she’s in a hurry.
“She lost her life that day, Michael. Like my daughter.”
“She’s right next to me, Willis” I say, confused.
“There are others like her, Michael. In the sea and on the streets of this chosen city. After her death, they wrapped her in a shawl, hoping to save her. The shawls, the moon, and the sun have a connection. They are a triangle.”
“She must be reborn. Reborn at the well. This city is special, Michael. Soon you will learn.”
“Why didn’t you do it, Willis, a long time ago? You had a second chance to save this life!”
I know that stung, and he felt me take it back.
“It must be at aphelion, when the moon is far from the sun. Today. Only you can save her life now, Michael. By way of the water, where I can’t go.”
I hear the ebb tide slowing and see slow-moving manatees and curious dolphins swim by for a closer look. My skills improving, I catch up with Kristina with a powerful push of
my tail. I point up and we surface, tails swimming in place.
“Hurry,” she says.
“Kristina, I’m beyond grateful for this miracle, but why me?”
“Michael, you are in the sea at sunrise even on the coldest days. It’s where you offer up your suffering. I know you felt me around you.”
“When the moon is far from the sun?” I ask.
“Yes, Michael. I need you to take my place for a while. In return, I take your pain.”
Written by Jim Alabiso