Words by Kiara Sharee

It’s stuffy in here, the air is almost stifling. Strange, given that my window is rolled down, the car greedily sucking in the sea-kissed wind. It likes to tell me of its past travels and where it has yet to roam. Often threads itself between my fingers, enticing me to join it on its adventures. At times, I want to. At other times, it sends my hair whipping so fiercely that I can’t even see where we would go. 


I can hear the ocean calling out to me. She rocks to and fro, sending me waves, both little and large, gentle and welcoming. She breathes deeply, lungs drifting back and forth, and sometimes, I try to match the rhythm of my breathing to hers.


Yet despite the wind and ocean for company, the air in this car seems to grow thick and heavy as the journey sprawls out. As my eyes follow flashes of azure between the mountain trees, I catch the driver’s faint frown. He doesn’t like the windows kept down—says that’s how the wild things creep in. 


It’s a pity then isn’t it, that I’ve always had a flair for wild things? Like the adventure of sneaking my way through bramble and thorn, or the thrill of tumbling upon bitter berries that may or may not leave me hurling up in a bush. Or catching glimpses of shimmering water mostly obscured by dense forests, and following them into the unknown. Or better yet, yielding to those waters, diving for pearls, and trying again each time I return to the surface empty-handed.


Breaking away from my daydream, I roll my window up and watch as the driver’s frown melts away, like a sand message licked away by the tide. 


I’ve lost track of when I hopped into this car. We must have been driving for years now. The driver always keeps the radio on, and so we listen. The voices that trickle through are ancient, supposedly wise. He always agrees with what they have to say, their words like gospel, and so they guide our voyage—tell us where to go, how best to get there. 


Their words drip over me, soft and sweet like honey. They sing me tales of risk and ruin, legends spun from unbreakable threads. Eventually, I’ve found myself nodding along in agreement, mirroring the driver. Sometimes he pitches in too. Between him and the voices, they are leaving me fragments of advice. I am meant to collect them, treasure them, swipe up each piece and store them in my pocket for safekeeping. 


I remember opening the window once, despising the barrier between me and the sea. I told the driver as much, and of my plans upon arriving to play with the tides at sunrise, even once the moon and stars had snuck in to watch. 


He scoffed, “I wouldn’t recommend that. The ocean is full of risk, he’ll swallow you whole. Better to stay back safely on land, like the others.” 


I listened to him and thought, He’s right, of course. Who am I to think I could paddle through an ocean of dreams, or dare to surf the unknown? 


Another time, I twisted around in my seat, spotting a deflated, lonesome satchel at the back. “How do you manage to travel so lightly?” I asked in wonder.


“I don’t need much,” the driver replied, “I left most of my things behind.” 


I wondered how he could have done so. This journey was a one-way ticket. In fact, we had no idea how long it would be, and he certainly wouldn’t have the chance to go back and fetch his belongings. 


“Don’t worry,” he added with a reassuring smile, “Once we get there, I’ll show you where you can hang your own belongings up to dry.” I pondered his words and realised he was right. There was no use having so much clutter on this journey. The less things I travelled with, the less I would have to lose. 


More recently, I commented on the night sky as the car climbed around the mountain bends. He nodded, “You’ll love the night sky even more when you get there. You’ll be able to see gallons of stars—they’ll make you feel tiny and insignificant.”


“Is that a good thing?” I asked, eyeing the cosmos above. 


“Dunno, but it makes sense, doesn’t it?” He let out a dry laugh. “I mean, that’s the whole reason we wish upon the stars—because they’re out of reach.” 


“Oh…” I replied. “Yes, that does make sense.” I began to wonder why I used to look up at the stars and feel magical.


One day, when I was itching to explore the new sights and sounds we’d ventured into, we got out in the middle of the forest. “Are there any good paths to explore around here?” I asked. 


His eyes lit up as he showed me a famous path. The grass was flat, practically dead with use, but I was told that it was safe and it works. Countless others before me had travelled that very path, and I would be a fool not to do the same. 


As I made my way back to the car, I suddenly became conscious of my surroundings and where I had strayed. I couldn’t see the ocean anymore, but I could hear her, muffled and distant. I seemed to exhale when she inhaled, no matter how hard I tried to match her breathing. Something felt terribly foreign and disrupted. 


It was almost as if somewhere along the journey, I began learning all the habits I never wanted to, picking up all the thoughts I never needed. How to stay on dry land, hang dreams up to dry, opt for the path most travelled. How to keep my feet on the ground and my gaze averted from the stars. 


With the honey gently drowning her out, my soul, she hardly breathed. Phantom pressures pressing down on me, I was stuck to this passenger seat. 




“So, where to from here, Miss?” The driver asks as we take off from the curbside, cruising at a steady pace.


“You’re asking me?” 


“It is your journey, after all.” He shrugged. I had almost forgotten. 


My stomach drops and I’m afraid that the cause is far from the unforgiving windy roads, or the treacherous cliff drops—it is the roads we’ve seen, the detours we’ve taken, whisking me further and further from my soul destination. 


I turn the radio off. Roll my window down completely. I need to hear myself—my heart, my mind, my soul. I inhale deeply, as if it is somehow possible to recover that piece of myself that had been lost to the wind. The entire world is suddenly holding its breath for me, and I realise that I have been holding my own for years. 


“Stop the car.” I say. “Please,” I add reluctantly—because it’s important to be kind to yourself. 


I walk down to the beach, the wind whistling some faraway, familiar tune. The shadows of little fish are wandering around the pier, like flowers swept up in an underwater breeze. 


I set my eyes on the lilac and cornflower skies, catching a whisper of the emerging moon. The driver had said that the stars were out of reach… So how is it that when I look out toward the horizon, with only my soul for company, I can see the places I want to go and the things I want to be, stretch out and settle before me like constellations? A treasure map in the sky, a spirit map in my mind. 


Here, the constant voices are silenced… Yes, they were soft and sweet, a haunting honey. But I had not realised that in allowing their songs to wash over me all this time, their lyrics were sticking to the walls of my mind. They were crystallising in a honeycomb labyrinth, while I was inevitably becoming less and less visible, trapped within. 


And so, as I make my way back up the sandy slopes, climbing the rocky hills to view the ocean from afar, I begin to crack my way out with each step, watching as honeycomb fragments shatter and crumble down, soon to be swallowed by the sea. 


At the top of the hill, the wind sets my hair flying, pulling me to more destinations than I can set my eyes on at once. The thrill of adventure thrums through my veins. I turn my back to the ocean, still feeling her guiding hand on my shoulder, still hearing her sweet song in my soul. We breathe in sync now. We always have. And I can hear my soul and what it needs, discern its untouched colour once more. 


I take a deep breath and continue the rest of my journey on foot, leaving the car behind. It is empty—it always has been. 


There are still songs from those travels tucked into crevices of my mind, but I am discovering that with a splash of stubbornness and determination, I can gently coax them out. Some roots need to be detangled before taking flight. 


I keep my eyes on the ocean during my travels now, intending to follow the lyrics that speak to my soul. 


They ebb and flow around me, a wispy whirlpool.


Intuitive, divine, defiant. 

Kiara Sharee

The author Kiara Sharee

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