Clara is under the water again. Just beneath the surface.

Wrapping herself in the liquid salt embrace a few steps offshore, she opens her eyes to a blurry burn. It soothes her. It soothes because she can make sense of losing focus.

The last time she saw Samuel, her vision hazed in a similar way for a far different reason.

“I thought it would be best if you found out this way.”

Clara remains enfolded in ocean. Her cotton dress extends in twists and twirls beyond the elegant shape of her drifting body.

Is this what it feels like?

Turning toward the faint light of dusk, her thin frame floats above lapping waves. Half exposed.

She reacts to the grayness of the clouds and subtle caress of liquid ripples with sprawled fingers and a delicate smile. Clara’s smile has always been her most fragile feature.

He should have understood that.

Her amber gold locks shape a sail that is perfectly tuned into the motion of marine swells keeping her afloat. The only sound in her mind is stillness. The calm drift of her perpetually craved freedom.

Clara’s mother is concerned. The icicle shade of her knuckles gripping the steering wheel is the same as her cheek’s ghost tone when she first heard the news.

“Clara would never do that…”

Along the road she is driving are rocky faced cliffs leading into the ocean. Her windows are rolled down in effort to lower the boiling temperature of unmentioned history burning her veins.

photo: Under your sea by Jessica Tremp