Author: Sasha Wolff
See The Sea Jewel zip around the cosmos like a theater bus that know no bounds; see it pop up in the remote corners of this glittering universe like Mary Poppins’ stuffed purse of many surprises; like a magical, mischief-making lunch basket of lipstick, lyrics, and lunar love…
Everyone aboard The Sea Jewel can give input about the show, but no one decides the next performance destination but the Captain.
The Captain, as a rule, is always a child.
Though the main character of this fairy tale is, indeed, well, a ship, this is also a story about cages. A cage, as you well know, is a smart, silvery thing that traps you. It can even trap you without you knowing you’re trapped. (Cages are all clever like that). Cages can be found on school buses, in the classroom, in girls’ locker rooms… (Oh, the fond memories: laughing easily with friends, then being super quick to gym class; putting your gaze on lockdown, while your dirty little body focused its entire being on casually changing clothes…).
Some cages can be found in quieter places, too—in one’s home, for example. (Although, to be clear: the past is the past, no? Why bring up our suburban home in a kids’ story? No point; no point at all, says this Writer).
Anyway, the cages in our tale are far more excellent ones. These cages belong to the most secret place in all the cosmos… The City of Cages. Think: cages kept darkly numerous, stacked high in the watery, drippy Dungeon of Time on a ship you’d never suspect of concealing silver bars: The Sea Jewel. You remember it? Good; it sure remembers you.
This hybrid ship, or star ark as the Intergalactika Peace Committee (IPC) likes to refer to it as, is the first of its kind—a “traveling musical.” It hops from planet to planet, bringing down the house. It skims the seas, fizzing and popping with showstoppers. It rocks the boat like fireworks, but leaves bedecked in blue roses.
You’ve never seen The Sea Jewel perform live, but I bet you wish you had.
They say it’s half paradise, half piano bar. They say it’s like Heaven got bored and let in her sometimes loverboy, Hell. They say it’s like Heaven found a secret zipper in the cosmos and let in her good friend, Color. They say it’s like Heaven met the Sea and the two women had a child with a diamond blue eye.
The kids in The City of Cages? They say late at night, dozens of children unclick the doors of their cages, come out, and dance about the jungled deck. They say that one girl in this city sleeps bundled up in intergalactic cloaks from all the planets she’s been to, like a blanket of past lives. Her pillow: a pile of blue roses. This child is now Captain of The Sea Jewel, they say.
They say she doesn’t talk much, but that her big blue eyes sure tell a fiery tale. That she’s proud to be a girl who loves ships, show-tunes, and other girls. She’s her own sea jewel now, in a way.
Does she feel lost? Sometimes. At sea? Only when she’s most alive.
They say if the universe was a better place and that place happened to be a ship, it’d look a lot like The Sea Jewel. They say if you can put a dark pen to paper and unlock its slow, sleeping colours, that one day, you’ll go there.
Loved your evocative imagery and the sense of whimsy.
I enjoyed how the first sentence created a mystery- what is a Sea Jewel? And at first, I am dismayed to have no knowledge of it, and feel I am missing something.
Then the information in paragraph 4 is such a relief. I feel clever, like I knew it was a ship! And I have renewed trust in the author to give me the information I need. It is such a relief to know for sure it is a ship.
And each added paragraph reveals new information but creates new questions.
Very good use of catharsis. I want to read the rest of the story.
They say this feels this very much like we’re going down the rabbit hole into our own little clever trap! Well written, whimsical and playful with a twist of chaos, and some dark undertones. I am intrigued!
Such wonderful and simply put words… and yet so twisted. Much love.
Wonderful wordplay and hugely engaging imagery!