Laura's Tears

written by

Melanie Anne Phillips,

upon waking from a dream

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There is a cove on the island where the waves rush over the coral in such a way that it becomes a fine spray. They call it, "Laura's Tears".

Many years ago, there was a young girl named Laura who loved her daddy very much. But she also loved to play. Often, as the sun dipped low toward the sea, her father would call to her, "Laura, it is time to come in."

All involved in whatever game she was playing, she would call back, "Just one more wave, father...", or one more ball, or throw of the shells or one more of whatever game she was playing.

One day, along the black sand shore, she found a magic shell. When she put it to her ear it spoke to her.

"Laura," it whispered, sounding like the sea itself, "would you like to be a wave?"

Laura thought of all the fun she might have, racing over the sharp coral without fear.

"Oh, yes!", she replied, almost without thinking.

"Then place this shell on the coral and close your eyes. When you open them, you will be a wave."

Laura did as she was told, but as she placed the shell on the coral, it spoke once more.

"Do not let the sun go down or you shall always remain a wave."

Laura looked at the deep blue sky. The sun was high. There was plenty of time to play.

She stepped back and closed her eyes and when at last she opened them, she was a wave! She felt so free, so alive, running out to sea and then up the shore again. Finally, as the sun dipped close to the sea, she heard her father call to her, "Laura, it is time to come in."

She called back, "Just one more wave, father", and threw herself into the coral. But as she did, the sun went down.

When she ran up on shore again, she tried to stop being a wave. But she had forgotten how. She was pulled out to sea once more. Time and time again, she struggled to become herself, but it was to no avail.

It was quite dark now, and she heard her father calling to her, "Laura... Laura..." She tried to answer, but could not make a sound, other than the wash of the waves.

She saw her father now, searching the shore with his paper lantern. Laura tried to touch him, but she was unable to move, save to throw herself into the coral. Finally, her father stopped and sat down from exhaustion. He saw the shell and at once knew of its magical properties. At least, that's how it appeared to Laura, for he bent his head and wept. Finally, he took the shell and went away.

Laura thought her father had given up on her, assuming she had drowned. But in the morning, he was back. He worked all day, cutting reeds and bamboo and lashing them together. Laura wanted so much to call out to him, but could only splash and gurgle.

By the end of the day, her father had fashioned a crude shack. He placed in it a straw mat for his bed. Just before the sun set, Laura saw her father take the shell and replace it on the coral, calling as he did, "Laura, it is time to come in."

She wanted so much to call back, "Daddy, I'm here! I will come to you now." But it was too late.

Each day her father would spend gathering food and praying. But each evening, as the sun grew close to the sea, he would replace the shell on the coral and call to her.

Laura watched her father age. She watched him grow old, and she watched him die. Now she was all alone.

There is a cove on the island where the waves rush over the coral in such a way that it becomes a fine spray. They call it, "Laura's Tears".

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