Artwork by Claire Smith
An excerpt from Hiraeth
Written by Allis Sells
Galatea’s thick curls blew wildly as she climbed along the large boulders of the rocky coast, eyes searching for something hidden away. I still followed her around to every depth of the island just like when we were younger. The sun peaked over the horizon, setting Galatea’s hair alight as it brightly shined orange and golden a color that was rare here. I had never seen anyone with the same exotic look Galatea had.
Suddenly my best friend jumped down from the rocks right out of my sight. “Hurry up, Acis! I finally found the cave,” Galatea yelled at me, excitement lacing her soft voice. I rolled my eyes at her adventurous antics, but hurried along the slick boulders over to the direction I saw her disappear to.
The hole wasn’t very deep at all as I slunk inside. Rays of light shined down through the openings at the top of the cave, making the pool of crystal blue waters reflect off stonewalls. Galatea was sitting by the pool, legs dangling into the waters below her. “You better watch out, Gala. You never know what could be lurking in those waters, you could lose a few toes,” I teasingly said. She snorted, shaking her still vibrant curls at me. “And they should! These are their waters, not ours. They have every right to steal a toe or two,” she exclaimed splashing her feet in the water. I chuckled sitting down beside her, sticking my own legs down in the water, and then ruffling her hair.
We sat in a comfortable silence for what seemed like forever, simply admiring the fish that swam beneath us. It wasn’t until Galatea spoke up did the silence end. “Ace, I wish you didn’t have to leave. You’re my best friend.” I looked at her as she stared into the waters, letting her long hair shield her face from my vision. I knew we’d eventually have to talk about this. Galatea was only sixteen, with a year and a half left of schooling on the island. I was in my last month here before my parents shipped me off to the Americas. I sighed heavily, “I know Gala, I know. Maybe I’ll only have to spend a semester there and get to come back.” She scoffed at that. We both knew my father wouldn’t allow such a thing. He wanted me to get out and make a name for myself when all I wanted to do was stay in Cadley with my family… and Galatea. They had a college in Cadley, and although it may not have been as prestigious as an American university, an education is an education.
Galatea covered my resting hand with hers, spreading my fingers and interlacing her own delicate digits. It was an innocent gesture for she had always been a sensitive and affectionate little girl growing up, yet my heart clenched with every sweet touch. As she rested her mop of orange curls on my shoulder Galatea exhaled slowly, “Don’t forget me, Ace.” My gaze turned from the shimmering blue pool of water to my dear friend. Tears trailed from Galatea’s shut eyes; beneath her thick lashes tracing their way along her pink cheekbones. The sight caused my own throat start to burn with pain and grief. With a shaky breath, I laid my head on top of hers, “I could never, Gala. Never.”