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To Be Free: A Short Story

Updated: Feb 18

To Be Free

A Short Story

©Rosalie Thorne

My bare feet sink into the European sand, feeling each and every small fleck of softened rock and shell between my toes. They wriggle underneath a full layer of the white, clean, smooth sand and I let my hands reach back to grip the Earth just as hard. Fingers just as deep as my toes, little sand crystals creeping under my nails, I crane my neck to look into the night sky.

Without so much light pollution, like in the States, I am able to see the Milky Way and all sorts of colors and stars and planets, that have nothing to do with the rising sun’s effect on the atmosphere. The night sky is fading, yes, so I am mostly looking behind me. But still, I revel in its beauty and wonder and mystery.

The ocean is sleepy, but with how quiet our little patch of the world is, the waves still do crash just beyond my feet. I can feel the sea salt with every breath I take; it scraping against my throat and tingling my lungs, the taste on my tongue lingering. The chill in the air only hurt my lungs slightly in comparison to the salt, but feels so pleasurous against my skin.

It has been many, many, months… many years since I’ve seen the sun rise…. My bones have set, welcomed motherhood is upon me, and I have challenged Fate and won. So, when I see the tiny beams of golden light over the horizon, a smile spreads rapidly and a small sparkler sets off in my stomach.

In this brand new day, my friends burst out in laughter and intentionally splash water at each other, off to the right in the subtle waves. A sense of warmth, of peace, of thankful happiness spreads within me as I recognize the beauty of this moment. In this moment, the day of rebirth, in this moment we have no worries, and in this moment anything could happen! Everything is new, is simple, is beautiful! ‘Bring me that horizon!’ for it holds all the optimistic options of freedom.

The thinnest of sky above the ocean’s seam is brilliantly bright orange now, the little orb of our sun now stinging my eyes. My eyes drift lower, safely watching the reflection in the sea’s waters. It’s unique, green and teal, with an almost straight and narrow line of the light - coming straight for us so symbolically. Rays of light in pastel skies worthy of God spread across the awakening sky. And with this, any concept of the fact we are on Earth traveling through space is lost; the night sky gone from one moment to the next.

Somehow, our little corner of the world seems quieter even still. The waves seem to settle and my friends are lounging now… watching the fine art-like quality of the natural sunrise before us. Time slows with the ever changing horizon and peace fills its place. Oranges, yellows, pinks, and blues fill the sky, dancing and tinting the puffy clouds - making our vision worthy of a painting for The Louvre. And to think…Mother Nature takes her time to do this uniquely every single day and every single night in reverse.

I pull my knees to my chest and inhale as deeply as I can - expanding every single inch of my torso, almost feeling pain in this flexing movement. And then, with an as hard and as long of an exhale, I let out every worry, every hardship, every dark moment or thought I’ve ever had. Letting this brand new morning and the ocean breeze carry my past far, far away where I will never ever come across it again. Simply, purely therapeutic, I feel like crying in this release.

Absentmindedly, I clean the sand out of my new and perfect engagement ring. This moment, though it won’t last forever, is everything it needs to be and will only lead to happiness. Finally I will find my happy place, a place to relax, to restart….

“He would have hated this, you know,” I say to no one in particular.

“I’m sure of it,” answers Jack, my man of many solutions.

A tingle in my nose, a stickiness on my cheeks, I do finally let myself cry. And for the first time in months, in so many months that they turned into years, I am crying of happiness. A happiness that I had forgotten was possible. A happiness that had turned into a dream I let go of so long ago.

Jack wraps his thick arm around me and pulls me in. This gesture explains it all, really; him saving me in my greatest time of need. Him coming and bringing me to safety, bringing me back to life. I had him to thank, but it wasn’t all him. It was with him that I found the strength within myself to do what needed to be done, to finally live my life for myself, how I needed, how I wanted. With Jack I am alive, I am me.

I feel him press his lips against the top of my head and his fingers softly brush the bare skin of my shoulder. He cares for me in ways no one ever has and no one else ever will. He has supported me in ways that no one ever has and I am forever grateful.

The sun is higher now and I knew my friends can be ready to leave in just minutes. I knew we had a very important plane to catch and no reason to risk missing it. I look up at Jack and he gives a little nod. My body struggles to steady, my eyes twinging in the light of day, as Jack helps me to stand.

I grab my bag that probably weighs just under ten pounds and lug it to the sea. The ocean licks my ankles, the icy water almost scratches my feet. Farther into the sea, the water splashing over my knees, I turn my bag upside down. Jumping back as my ex-husband’s head splashes in the waves, I want to be far away from the last of his remains.

There was no final goodbye to the abusive son of a bitch, just a swift kick from me to send him even farther into the depths of the sea.

Never again will I be afraid.

Never again will I be beaten and tormented.

Never again will he hurt me.




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