Oblivion, Chapter 3
In which Elysia remembers something of importance.
Quick recap: Elysia awoke on a beautiful island with no recollection of her past and a painting of the Birth of Venus held beneath her arm. Now, a botanist attempts to help her remember.
Matt Evans of Fog Chaser composed a beautiful musical score for this chapter. I hope you enjoy this meditation as you read.
One moment, Ama and Wao were standing next to me, the next they were gone and I was standing at the edge of the lagoon, my toes dipping into the water.
I leaned forward, my dress drinking in the water as I reached for that endless blue. My fingers stirred the surface—not just of the waters but of myself too. I dropped my cup of tea but the waters caught it, the flowers spilling from my cup even as the trees whispered to forget them. The water drew me into its embrace and I sank beneath the surface, into that sapphire blue.
The fish were bright down here. How affectionately they swam through my long red hair. I was a statue sunken into the sand—tiny bubbles escaping my lips to betray my humanity to the surface. How the water cloaked the jungle in a kaleidoscope of color. How it hid the sounds of nature with quiet and solitude. How it cloaked the chaos of life with a deep welling of peace.
How beautiful we must seem to the sky, I thought.
And then there was a woman, the sun shining behind her even as the water dappled her with the very beginnings of delusion. She reached for my hand and pulled me to the surface. I emerged from the pool, water streaming from my head, caressing my body like a robe of blue silk. Was the water alive? Did it touch me? Did it linger on my skin so it could feel the breath as it moved through my body?
And then my feet were on the ground, wet footprints in the jungle, the trees bowing before me, even as their leaves reached for me—touching my fingertips as I ran through their canopy into a field of wildflowers. The flowers spoke to me in an exotic language all their own. They clung to my ankles. They wanted me to taste them, to savor their honeyed petals upon my tongue. I plopped them into my mouth like plums, my lips reddening with delight.
Enticed by their bliss, I lay in the wildflowers. They brushed my hair with their leaves and tickled my toes in the breeze. It was a slow and gentle wind that touched me, that soothed me with its whispers, sighing its breath sweet upon my skin. My dress fluttered and flower petals skittered across my skin, startling me with their touch, teasing me with the sweet scent of the dawn, wettening me with their dew.
The sun warmed my skin and dried my eyelashes, the dragonflies dipped reverently around me, then I heard the flowers speak my name. Elysia, they said in whispers. Elysia.
I cupped them in my hands, breathing in their perfume. They remembered me, these flowers, but there was nothing left of me to remember. I was lost to myself and for that all the better. For there was no past to haunt me, no memory to inform me, no aspiration to climb toward, nor purpose to fulfill. I would simply live amidst the poppies forever. A child of the Elysian fields.
I fell into their arms and a deep sleep overcame me. Held and loved by the flowers, I slept in some lingering dream and it was only there that I remembered the painting—the one of the woman born of the sea, that was held between my fingers when I awoke in a canoe, adrift against an unknowable shore.
The thought nudged at my mind, tugging at my consciousness. The painting was important, I knew. There was something about her I needed to remember. And yet, what was it? And where was she?
Oblivion is a utopian novel and a collection of essays imagining a more beautiful future. Join us? ✨