Eleanor stared at the sea and it stared back it her. The wind coming from the water carried salt into her eyes making them water, but she didn’t need any help there. She came out here every day, even as the few summer tourists came and went she stayed and watched the sea. It wasn’t that it was calling to her, it wasn’t affinity, and it wasn’t a love of the sounds or the soft sensation of wet sand that had her coming back.
She just waited.
She clutched at the pearls from around her neck and thought. These pearls were probably taken from the same body of water she stared at day in and day out. She wondered if it was angry at her for having them when they so rightfully belonged in the cool ocean waters. She wondered if that’s why the sea had called Her Connor away and sent him off to the shores of Japan. She wondered if Her Connor had somehow slipped into the grasp of the Sea, a trophy of vendetta for the pearls she didn’t really treasure.
Eleanor stared at the sea and it stared back at her as the other housewives of Hampton came near for their daily walk. She couldn’t hear them, or at least she tried not to as they happily walked along with their parasols and carriages. Their twittering laughter taunted her long before they could. The ladies slowed down as the passed the girl, just like they always did day in and day out. Eleanor couldn’t hear them, but their words were sharp and pierced through to her very soul.
“Oh she’s here again.”
“Poor thing so young.“
"Poor thing? What about her children?!”
“Yes she is a terrible excuse for a mother, always out here until the sun sets.”
“No other man will want her if she acts like this.”
“She probably never get another if she has her way. Sad but at least she has the money.”
“I don’t understand why he simply didn’t pay to get off the draft list.”
“Well he always was foolish. Young men with money always are!”
“Such a pity. Such a pretty pretty girl.”
“Oh goodness Nancy, I have to tell you what I did to spice up my roast last night. It was simply scrumptious!”
And they were done, they left Eleanor be after they chided her. Never once looking back, they instantly felt better about their petty little lives being able to degrade the “wife of the sea” as they called her. If only they had known what it was like to be with Her Connor, the man who would come home and help her in the kitchen as they danced along to the music of Bing Crosby on the radio. They worked together so well. Not a foot out of step and never boring; it was like they were a part of a never ending waltz and neither of them wanted to stop dancing. She didn’t need all the committees and socials and gatherings that those other women needed to swallow the sadness of their husbands’ vacant natures. With Her Connor she had everything. But now…
Eleanor stared at the sea and it stared back at her, but unlike every other time the cool ocean water looked into her, this time it started to sing. From far in the seas of the Pacific it had carried Her Connor’s voice to her. The song that he had so loved when he was here looking out on these waters with her.
Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stand on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing
The pearls around her neck became heavy and almost pulled her towards the sea, and she let them. It was Her Connor, Her Only Connor. The sea was striking a deal; it’s pearls for Her Connor. And she was willing to take it.
Eleanor stared at the sea and the sea called to her. She walked up to where the water lapped at the sand and let it come over her. The pearls got heavier as the water felt like fingers pulling her in. She started to advance faster as the sea grabbed at her hips, making her sink deeper into the sand underfoot. She tried to run as she heard Her Connor’s voice getting louder, and just as the water reached her chin and the pearls gently floated above, an undercurrent took her under.
Down here the sound was blaring, Her Connor’s voice surrounded her as the accompaniment played as if a ghost. There he was, Her Connor dressed in his naval blues. He smiled at her and embraced her, making Eleanor feel alive at the touch. She knew that he’d come back. If she waited he would come back and everything would be okay again; they would be back in the kitchen dancing as the children played in the backyard and they could love again. She laughed, near tears as the sea choked her. But she didn’t care, he was back again and singing to her and everything in the world was right.
Her Connor looked at Eleanor and gently touched her face. He kissed her on the forehead and the chill of it sent a shock through her body. She looked to Her Connor as he drifted off, the pearls from her neck slowly leading the way. She became frantic, she thrashed through the water as she tried to get back to him, but she wasn’t going anywhere fast. She reached for him as he was about to disappear, and just as she reached her fingertips to his they vanished along with him.
And the undercurrent took her again.
Eleanor stared at the sky and it stared back at her. It and the sand were positioned in the wrong place and a baby cried as she finally became aware. She could vaguely comprehend that the housewives were yelling and asking if she was alright, but she couldn’t quite hear them over the music coming from the sea. Her Connor’s voice was growing faint but she still knew it was him.
We’ll meet, I know we’ll meet, beyond the shore
We’ll kiss just as before
Happy we’ll be beyond the sea
Tears started to spill from her eyes as she clutched at where the pearls should have been. Eleanor curled into herself as her dress lay cold and heavy on her body and she started to shake.
She grew tired and soon her eyelids were too heavy for her. She sobbed as the song became a non-existent whisper, hoping that it would finish with the part that she really wanted to hear. But as it didn’t come, and she started to succumb to a numb sleep, she murmured it to herself as comfort.
“And never again, I’ll go sailing.”