There was something about the sea which made it impossible for him to look away. Centuries of memories still lingered upon the waves, his heart stranded in a land far beyond them. It was always at sunset when he could trudge the beaches, departing from the rest of his crew. For he knew that with the dimming light, they would soon be off on their own voyages through dreamland, and would have no place in tracking him down in question. And thus, the sea became his nightly companion.
Are you there?
The last rays of light swept across the crests, igniting them in the same fiery hues the sky above wielded. There were times he believed that the light was most intense at this time, most enchanting and surreal. This was why he chose to come. It was in the fleeting hours of daylight that the sea and sun became one; as was it in the rising hours. He knew that on occasion, when the sun sank into the sea, a portal would be opened, linking his world and her world. He couldn't bear to count the days, months, years it had been since he'd seen her last.
Can you hear me?
Some days, he would stay up until the break of morning, staring. Hoping. Yet, she never came. He would close his eyes and try to remember her face, centuries old but still young with beauty. Yet, in the end, he found her only memory was a name.
Do you still love me?
In the distance, he could hear the soft sounds of singing. They were quiet at first, rising up from the waves and calling to him—beckoning—but he knew better. He had already fallen for their deceits long ago. Sometimes, he believed that was why he was here.
But, on this particular night, he noticed something familiar dancing upon the waves. It was the shape of a woman, face shrouded in the silhouette, but all the same recognizable. He called out to her, praying for her to come to him. It was her, he reassured himself. He knew it was her. As the light began to fade, her figure approached. Slowly. Steadily. He couldn't help but call to her again, beckoning her as the sea witches once had him.
The sun falls into the sea. Silence stirs the shores where the shadows now linger, hungry for their next victim. She, too, has vanished, swallowed up by the waves. If only she was able to reach him…
A hand is gently placed upon his shoulder, causing him to remove his focus from the sea. A new woman stands beside him now, a smile painted across her pale lips. Her eyes shimmer like the waters of the sea; they're blue, too, the same colour as hers once were. But, he knows that she is not her. She never was her.
"Still chasing lost love, I see." Her voice is just as salty as the ocean before her. When he doesn't respond, she continues on. "The years have been cruel to you, Desiderio. How many centuries has it been now?"
He finally parts his lips to speak. "No one has called me Desiderio." His voice becomes bitter. "Not since her."
"Is that why they call you 'Spectre' then? You're just a wandering soul drained of his life after losing the one he loved so dearly?"
Again, he remained silent.
"You're looking for hope in all the wrong places." She turns to him. "The tide is a cruel thing, Spectre. While it can bring in things we thought were once lost beneath the waves, it can take them back just as easily. But, happiness can never come from watching trinkets wash up on the shore only to be retrieved moments later. All that can do is drive the soul to turmoil."
Taking his face into her hands, she smiles up at him. His golden brown eyes glint through the darkness like lost treasures, searching her for answers. It is then she brushes his dark hair away with a sigh.
"You still are not ready to join her in the light. There is so much that you have yet to do, and wallowing in the past is not going to bring the future closer." Her lips brush against his softly. "Two lifetimes you've lived, but you've only taken one love to heart. You forget that one of the crucial steps to redemption is learning to love again."
His eyes return to hers after a moment. After his wall of silence, he finally finds the courage to speak, this time, his voice stern.
"I never needed to love again," he says. "Since the day I died, the love I shared for her has grown."
She stares back. "But, you must learn to—"
"I never stopped loving her. And I never will. I've learned to love again; learned that true love comes with loss and pain. The pain of knowing you would give your dying breath to be with that one person again. To hold them in your arms. To let them know just how much they mean to you. That's what love is. And every night, I am reminded just how strong my love for her is." He takes her face and lifts it, their eyes meeting. "Is that not enough?"