The Abyss was singing her to Its bedside tonight, unfolding black sheets into soft and smoky wisps. Let go, It hummed. You gave so much already. Come rest, Nami. There’s no sense in fighting it any longer.
A few steps away from Bell-mère's grave, Nami’s body stood in the moon’s pale and unflattering glow. Her mind, however, wandered elsewhere, opening fragile memories she swore she’d never touch again.
She drew in a sharp, cold breath and hung her head low. Nami was as worn as an old sail flapping limply on the high seas. Those fierce winds, once filling her with joy, now seeped through holes that had been torn through her spirit. Many had knifed Nami, but none so much as her sister. Nojiko’s last words weaved in and out of her head: “You're still the same girl.”
Nojiko. She couldn't have been more wrong than a rock with an eye patch. That so-called “girl" had perished with her mother, Bell-mère. When Arlong rang bullets through Bell-mère’s body, Nami’s soul became as hollow as the discarded gun shells rolling on the floor… Just as Nami was finally ready to call her Mother, too, after years of denying it.
As if that wasn’t enough, Nami died once more after being forced to work for Arlong's crew—the flag that killed her mother forever a mark of sin on her left shoulder.
Then she suffocated a third time, when she told the other villagers about joining Arlong. They shunned her for betraying Bell-mère, disgusted by her choice as much as she was.
Nami withheld her true motives, though, not wanting to unload her burden on her beloved town.
I can carry this on my own, she’d thought. Ridiculous! She could barely stand right now. How was she supposed to haul this burden, too? How could she ever collect enough money to free her village from Arlong’s chains? She was such a weak girl, just a pathetic navigator.
She longed for the Abyss to pull her into Its arms and beat her into submission.
It wouldn't, though. It would just stare at her, luring her close, singing sweet lullabies of the beyond. She was so tired; she just wanted to—
Nami’s eyes widened. No! Her hands clawed at her thighs. She couldn't take this final rest. To give up on freeing her village—that would be the ultimate betrayal.
Her heart suddenly felt trapped in its boned cage. She wished she could go back to her childhood, where the real treasures were the tangerines on their fields, not the money Nami had buried in the dirt below: a meager seven million Belly. Arlong had demanded one hundred million for her village’s bail.
At start of her journey, Nami figured stealing money from other pirates was justified, since one had started the whole mess in the first place. But on her last raid, she had been too careless, too naïve—trying to swipe some pirate’s loot in broad daylight!
“Do you have a death wish?” he'd screamed in her face, red as a ruby.
She wanted to say, “Hell yes!” And spit right back in his mangled face. If he did kill her, Nami would welcome death. Get rich or die trying, as the saying went. Looting was her last escape route, her final act. Abandoning her village was not an option. However, the moment she remembered her people, Nami dropped the coins and bolted off. She couldn’t afford to kill herself over her own stupidity. Her village needed her without a sword wedged in her gut.
Suicide was not an option—and it never had been.
“No. I cannot rest tonight,” she said.
The Abyss ceased Its singing.
Relieved, Nami sighed, tucking a strand of orange hair behind her ear. She dug a hand into her front pocket, pulling out a small fruit that matched her hair. Slowly, she stepped forward. Dead leaves and spiked grass crunched beneath her bare feet. Their little jabs reminded Nami of her growing failures. As a daughter. As a friend. As a savior.
A single tear tumbled down her cheek as she placed the tangerine, a symbol of her mother’s undying love, on Bell-mère's grave.
“Forgive me,” Nami whispered, her voice trembling. “Please forgive me for still being that same weak girl. I am not even half as strong as you were… Mother.”
Quiet sobs filled the cemetery until the moon melted into a blue canvas, but no one cared to see whose they were.