The Power of Distant Memories
Loretta Fontaine looked around cautiously, her eyes alert and searching for any signs of her sister; the once full restaurant was finally empty, and her sister, Rosetta had decided to take a long, relaxing midnight walk down the beach which faced opposite the Golden Dubloon. Staring silently at the vacant, open benches surrounding the scrubbed tables, she sighed with contentment. Night was her favourite time of day, as there was no-one to fill her head with incoherent thoughts, no-one to realise that she was keeping up a false pretense. She's taken up the job as a waitress with the impression of an adventure, an entirely different road to the one she had known. But to her, life on Krawk Island was nothing more than an end to the constant struggle she and Rosetta had fought with for quite some time. This wasn't, and never would be enough for her. She still couldn't believe this was the lifestyle she had chosen, simple and repetitive from the day Captain Hackett had offered them a job at his famous restaurant on Krawk Island.
Slowly, Loretta turned to the grubby counter and picked up the fancy pen she always reserved to take orders with. Sadness clutched at her heart, wrenched at her already troubled and clouded mind. But the decision had already been made. This would be the very last time that she would feel her heart pulling in the opposite direction of her blind desire. Drawing in one last sharp intake of breath, she raised pen to paper and steeled herself to leave her memories behind, in the steady hands of her sweet and understanding sister...
'Dear Rosetta', she wrote soberly,
'By the time you read this, I will be well and truly gone. The reasons behind my sudden decision, I hope, will become clearer to you as you ponder this letter. I know you already think of our jobs here as an adventure you're all too happy to keep living, but it has never been that way for me. It is hard to tell you that life on the beautiful, sunlit island is a struggle, but in a much different way than you and I have experienced. Being at the restaurant is almost a confinement for me, Rose, like a cage or underground passage which continues to dissolve memories of the past as time goes by. Unlike you, who were always content with anything you had to do to survive the hardship, I yearned for a real adventure, to explore while I had the chance. The way I feel about you shrouded my mind and I didn't see things clearly. But although this will never change, I have learnt to overcome that last barrier and face the world around us. I wish we could stay together, as we have throughout our entire lives, but I know that now is the time to go our separate ways. I hope that you will understand this in years to come. Take care of yourself, please, for me. In my heart, we'll always be together.
A tear rolled down Loretta's cheek and splattered onto the page, smudging the very end of her letter. She couldn't help it; this was the moment of heart-break, the moment when all her thoughts collided, jumbling together until no coherent emotion was left but confusion, stinging regret and overwhelming sadness.
Paws trembling slightly, Loretta carefully folded the letter in half and placed it on the counter, blocking the painful thoughts from her mind. The raging emotion gentled and gradually stilled, and she stood up, feeling stronger than she had in a long while. Glancing around her once more, she slipped out into the cool, silent night without looking back. Her plush pink fur glistened subtly in the moonlight, swaying gentle in the distant, west breeze. Suddenly, a realisation burst in her mind. The thread which had bound her so tightly to her sister had grown so thin that it had crumbled to dust. From that moment one, she had her own will, and freedom she'd wanted for so long reached out to her, beckoning her to take flight...
At the crack of dawn the next morning, Rosetta Fontaine walked through the swinging double doors of the Golden Dubloon, expecting, as usual to see her eager and excitable sister hungrily drinking down a mug of Grog Lite and practising her thick, pirates' accent in a loud, echoing voice. She began to smile wistfully, but her grin of happiness and amusement faded with the wind as the doors of the restaurant burst open to reveal an unexpected surprise; the Golden Dubloon was completely empty, with no signs of life.
At first, Rosetta thought Loretta was playing a clever hoax, so she called out to her in a light, teasing voice.
"Loretta? Aye, Loretta!" she almost sang, scouting about the tables. Her voice rang gaily through the open air. "I know yer in here, Loretta, so come on out, aye, before I'll be forced to go in after yer!"
Silence hung in the room; not a sound was to be heard, not even the scraping of a bench or the distant sound of muffled laughter. Rosetta's anxious eyes frantically searched the restaurant, the gnawing worry taking over every other thought in her mind. Her gaze came to rest on the distinctly small, neatly-folded note on the counter, but even in her eagerness to read it, she felt a genuine shudder of fear for what Loretta had written. Her paws shook as she unfolded the note and scanned the words on the page.
With each tumultuous sentence, Rosetta felt as though she were falling into a bottomless pit; each word left her feeling dazed, and a strange kind of sadness swept over her. She couldn't collect her tangled thoughts in time to compose herself as Captain Hackett, a burly Lupe with an angry countenance opened the doors with a flourish and stepped into the restaurant, heartily roaring a pirates' tune. However, he stopped short when he took in Rosetta's lost expression. He shook his gleaming, gold cutlass in her direction and fixed his steely left eye upon her.
"Aye, Rosetta; whatever is the matter with yer? Come on then, out with it!" Despite the suddenness of the demand, his harsh, coarse voice was oddly gentler than usual and his face held a mix of concern and understanding which Rosetta couldn't quite comprehend.
"Loretta's gone," Rosetta whispered in a broken, almost unintelligible mumble. "She's gone, Captain, and she ain't ever coming back." Captain Hackett surprised her by nodding, and she could see the immediate awareness light his usually dull eyes. This took her off guard, and without thinking she stepped towards him with a questioning look.
"You-you knew this all along? That she would leave us, and Krawk Island, to go off on her own?" Her voice quivered, and she stared past Captain Hackett, who was watching her with a sad twist to his features.
"Aye," he answered. "It's true, of course, what yer say. I'm sure she has 'er own reasons for taking off so soon, but all we can do for the momen' is wish 'er well, wherever she's headed."
Rosetta barely managed a nod, but in her heart she knew he was right. She willed her body to move as the first stream of chattering customers and tourists began to queue up at the doors. Even though she'd cherished every moment with her sister, every memory they'd shared, the bleak truth dawned on her. She would have to let it all go.
Staring out to sea on this sad morning, she moved swiftly to open the doors of the restaurant, and before doing so she briefly turned to admire the spectacle of the steadily rising sun, which was drifting ever so slowly to that exact pinpoint in the sky where it would come to rest but continue to shine ever so bright. It reminded her of her sister, now so far way in the world, but with the beauty of the sunrise came the recall of a distant memory. She knew, that even though Loretta had moved on, in both of their hearts, they would always be together...
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