Legend has it, that there is a Princess of the Tsunami. She lives deep inside the ocean, as a prisoner of the sea, trapped forever. There are many accounts of the story; some say she is a mermaid, some have said they have seen her ghostly figure walk along the seaside on stormy nights.
But one thing is for certain. She is beautiful. The villagers who have seen her, say she has hair made of the finest black silk, eyes as dark as a starless night, and skin that glows in the moonlight. But her eyes, her beautiful eyes, are haunted with the memories of our world.
She was a human too once, you see. But one evening, while she was dancing in the rain on the seaside, the sea fell in love with her beauty. The sea raised its tentacle like waves to drag her into the sea, to possess her. Her mother had warned her many times not to go to the seaside when it was stormy, but she had paid no heed.
She tried to run away from the wet grasp of the waves, but legend was her silky blue kimono had got caught in the rocky ground, causing her to fall. She cried out for help, ‘No! Please let me go. Please. I have a family. Please let me go.’
The sea paid no attention to her pleas; it wanted her beauty. With a great big wave, the sea engulfed the girl, drenching her with the coldness of the sea, the sea water washing away her salty tears.
The sea took her, possessing her forever. But she didn’t want to live in the sea, she wanted to go back out to the world where it was sunny, and where she could put her arms around her mother and apologize for not listening to her. It was dark, and lonely under the sea.
So every time she had the chance, she would try to swim away and escape. And every time she escaped, the sea would rage and roar with anger, causing great big waves of tsunami, until it was able to drag her back into its possession. Many disliked her, for she was the one that caused such anger in the sea, destroying the lives of the villagers.
She was only a myth, but I believed in her. For you see, I had seen her in my dreams, calling out for help, her hand stretched out in desperation for me to help her escape from the sea. And I too, like the sea, was in love with her beauty. I was a young and foolish man, entranced by her beauty, not caring what would happen if I helped her escape. I wanted to save her from the wrath of the sea.
So every time the sky grew dark, and thick gray clouds shadowed the ground, I would go out and wait for her. But she never came. The weather, after awhile would go back to normal, and I would go home disappointed. It was as if she had almost escaped, but the sea had taken her back before she could even come out of it.
But today was different.
Today I could feel the Princess of the Tsunami coming. I could feel it in the quaking of the ground, and the clouds that loomed above me on the ocean side. The waves were getting angry, rising up above into the air, sharp claws ready to devour everything in their way. In the distance, Fuji San (Mt. Fuji) stood pristinely, unbothered and untouched by the chaos of the sea.
The screams and yells of the sailors in the boats were being drowned by the thunder of water crashing down. It was a magnificent sight. Sad, but also magnificent. I know I should have run while I had the chance. But as I said I was a foolish, young man in love.
My feet were frozen to the ground, watching nature take its power over all living beings. Tonight, I was finally going to meet the Princess of the Tsunami and save her from the sea, even if that meant everything would be destroyed. I looked around for her desperately, frantically searching for her on the seaside, the rain drenching me.
And then I saw her. She had escaped finally, but the sea was angry. Of course it was angry, she was its most precious possession. She was dancing in tune with the rough roar of the sea, her hair shining in the lightning. She didn’t care that she was causing destruction, she was free from the darkness of the sea at last.
She wore a red and gold kimono, a bright beacon in the gray landscape. Her smiling lips matched the kimono, and there was a sparkle in her eyes. I ran towards her, eager to be her savior. I was going to help her escape forever. I felt very proud that she had chosen me, after all, that is why she had haunted me in my dreams. She was even more beautiful in reality, and she was going to be mine. All the villagers would be in awe of how I had saved her from the sea. I would be the bravest sailor in the village, in possession of the most beautiful girl.
Her dancing hair was just out of my reach. I stretched out my arm to touch it, to feel the silkiness of it, but my hand went through it, and for the first time I saw the smokiness of her figure. She really was a ghostly being, the sea had taken her life that first night it had captured her. But I did not care, I was still in love.
She turned around, and smiled serenely at me. I beckoned her to run away with me, my hand still reaching towards her. She looked back the angry sea, worry in her eyes, but with a determination started following me, away from the angry waves.
The sea was getting rougher and angrier, for no one was allowed to take away its princess; no one was allowed to possess what it had possessed before. The waves were rising higher; the wind was blowing even faster, causing the sand to swirl around us, like small dancing figures. I could feel the salty spray of the sea, could taste the anger in it, but I was still not scared. Indeed, I had won from the sea, taking away its glory.
We had almost reached dry land, near the sailor houses. I was going to take her away from the village as soon as I had the chance, but before I could plan more, the sky cracked with the loudest thunder I had heard. I looked up to see lightning strike, as if the sky was breaking into pieces. I had underestimated the sea’s power, blinded by love.
I looked back, to see the greatest wave tumbling over us, our screams lost in the crashing of the water. I looked into her eyes, and I could see that she had given up. This would be the last time she escaped from the sea. She tried to push me away, to save my life, but I didn’t want to be saved. As the salty water filled my lungs, I should have regretted losing my life. But I didn’t. I was in love.
If I could not live with her in our world, I would do so happily in the depths of the sea.
The sea never raged again.