She walked slowly and silently down to the sea.
It was a long way from the village and she was tired.
Gratefully she savored the scent of the scrub pines
and relished the feel of the sand between her toes.
She had always known this time would someday come
and now that it was here she did not hesitate.

She took a step into the ocean, then another,
and still another—graceful, as always, as she met the surf.
She knew where she had come from long ago
and where she was going now.  She did not look back.
Deeper and deeper she went into the waves
until the sea took her and she disappeared from sight.

The man had found her near the beach years before,
naked and fast asleep among the pine trees.
He wrapped her in his cloak and took her home.
When she awoke he clothed and fed her,
but never found out where she came from.
After a while it didn’t matter any more.

They lived their lives together peacefully for years,
never courted, never married, never had children.
The villagers gossiped but didn’t do any more than talk.
They kept to themselves and didn’t bother anyone,
and grew quite fond of each other, this lonely man
and the woman he found one day near the sea.

Theirs was a quiet life on the village outskirts
but he grew older, while she looked just as she did
on the day he had brought her home to his hut,
and once again the villagers talked but did nothing.
When he breathed no more she buried him in the garden
and set out on her journey down to the sea.

She remembered with joy the scent of the scrub pines
and greeted the friendly feel of the sand between her toes.
She thought of the man who found her and took her in
and the life they had lived together for so many years.
Then she walked slowly and silently into the sea,
and the sea-gods took her and welcomed her home.

©2009 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

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