Piscine is ready to go out with permission granted by her parents to seek out the boys whom offered their friendship to her.
‘Anak, please be careful. They may be young but who knows whom they’ve told about you,’ her mother tells her as she does her warm ups. ‘It would benefit us to know how the city people fare now but it will be a great disadvantage if any of our clan members know about this. Be especially aware of the iron birds. There are no other but them.’
‘I will, Mom,’ she assures her, ‘If in doubt, swim back home,’ she repeated what her mother told her all these years, every day as she adjusted her industrial goggles.
‘Precisely. Seek them out, find out what you need to and get back here before dawn. Now go before I change my mind,’ her mother tells her and as quick as a fish, Piscine jumps off the boat, enters the water feet first and makes no sound or splash.
The waters in this area are definitely different from the other ocean. The ocean is not something you would call safe but this is the closest to safe that you can get here. As she swam closer to her destination, she checked water temperatures as instructed by her mother, she checked the marine life as instructed by her father and she snacked on some small fishes here and there and when she got closer to Krakatoa, she checked the perimeter of the island before getting any closer.
Piscine did not know where to start looking for them or how to look for them. Will they be on a boat out? Will they be still living in the island? She followed her intuition and went to the last place she saw them. As she swam towards her destination, she saw two figures by the rocks. They were sitting by the rocks where she left the boys the last time. She was not sure if it was them. What if there were other twins in the island? She swam towards them very slowly; she needs to exercise caution, just like what Quatre taught her. The figures finally see her as she gets closer to them. Only one way to find out if it is them, she thought.
‘My water babies! How much have you grown?!’ she calls out to them as she swam closer. The boys stood up quickly from where they were sitting and were looking around them cautiously. Piscine stopped swimming and looked around again. Caution, Piscine. Caution, she can hear Quatre saying it in her head.
‘Piscine!’ they call out to her. She gave them the widest smile she had and swam closer to them. How much have they changed since the last time she saw them?
After finding out what they have done all these years, catching up a little bit and finding out that they didn’t tell anyone about her, she felt even more relieved. The reunion was highlighted with the knowledge of their names. Alder and Oak but they will always be her water babies. She told them a little about their ways in the Clan, as Mer instructed her to do and hoped that they agree to a little secrecy when it comes to her.
As she swam back home for the night, she thought of how short of a time frame she will only spend here but it’s for the best and she will not waste a single moment.
Another highlight of the day is the marriage token. She did not plan it. She believes it was the fates that led her to find that pearl. There is a saying in their clan that if you find a pearl in the waters, and someone is very important to you, you are destined for that person. It just so happens that she found two of the same person and she thought it was magic. She will tell her family about this one day. For now, it is her own secret.
When she got back to the boat, the only question anybody asked her is that if she found the twins which she happily reported that she did. She told them how they did not tell anyone about her, how much they have grown, how much she told them about their customs and what they know as instructed by Mer, what they plan to do in the next few days before they sail out again. Her siblings were so happy to hear her stories. As she lay in bed that night, all she could think about is how happy she was, teaching them how to sing. Her heart felt full and she went to sleep with pleasant singing dreams of the twins.
When she got up the next morning, she thought of the things that she needed to teach them before she left again for the other ocean. Singing, swimming, fishing, stories from the other ocean and more singing. She must not forget to tell her family about every detail on what she taught them. Mer will keep a record.
Happy times always seems so short. Soon, it was the third sunset. Piscine helped prepare for the journey back to the other ocean and her heart, overflowing with happiness, feels mighty heavier.
As she made her way to their meeting place, she kept telling herself that she will not feel sad. She won’t show sadness to Alder and Oak. She must not. She is older. She will not be weak.
Piscine arrived at the rocks and even as hard as she tried to mask her sadness, she couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming feeling of separation. Suddenly, the twins did a salute – something she’s seen in books that they have at home but they were awkward but practiced salutes. They thanked her for saving their lives, that she will be their best friend forever, that they would always think of her and that they will wait for her.
Piscine felt her ears go hot and she squealed, feeling all the love she has burst in her chest. She cannot wait to go back. She will teach them more skills and she will teach them more songs to sing with her. She took them in her arms and it was the warmest feeling she ever felt.
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)