Down by the harbour, the waves keep pushing against the coast, a gentle hum in the back of your mind, like something you remember from long ago. This island still has a special place in your heart, but then again, most of them do by now. Even Monkey Island. There is no way you would be able to pick a favourite, not when each island feels richer and deeper the more you know about it. It's like every secret you uncovered added another layer to the island, until they are burdened down by history. A history you lived in.
Looking down there at Melee Island now, from your new place atop of the cliffs, feels surreal though. The town buzzing with more life than you ever remember being there when you were young, even on the nights the grog had flown more freely.
Looking down now, so little reminds you of the town you started your own pirating journey in.
The world is changing at a rapid pace, but you remind yourself, there are only so many ways to go, only so many things to see. Every world has its limits. Even a world made of many islands and many mysteries. In your mind you mix up the memories, sometimes even the islands, and there are few people left who could tell you which memories belonged where. She could have done it, but she might have joked about it, or gotten angry, about you forgetting. But had she ever really gotten angry at you - when not under a curse? Even with LeChuck in the end, she had never been. Sometimes you look for her at your side and you seem to remember everything you had forgotten, but when your eyes don't find her, that's all gone again. As if there is anything of yours she didn't influence. As if without her, there are any memories left.
In your memories, she is everywhere.
Anyway, right now you could go to the most remote island, to places you have only visited once, to find that what you miss, what you want most, was right there in your face the whole time. And you know that. And yet, it feels like you don't. You make a face talking about this, and you did end up meeting with her in every single possible way every single possible time. Other people never were so lucky. You lived your life with the best friend, lover, companion imaginable, and yet...
Sometimes, when you look into the fire hard enough, LeChuck comes to visit. You are not sure if your memories are right, not sure what you and him did to create this truce but it must have been good. Then your eyes water, the odor of the earth and of death thick in the air. You have been to many places, have seen many things, and yet this is the smell that makes you step back and ask yourself what were you doing. Even the underworld wasn't as bad as the smell of rotten zombie pirate.
You went, joking, to the world of the death and here you are, and you can't even smile anymore.
But up here on the cliff, it's easy to forget there is such a place, that this is not all one elaborate story in which we are the heroes and everyone gets their happy end. Your story is long and complicated and not made easy by the fact that the rest of the world was like this too. Is like this. Was like this.
The world is changing: new pirates looking to you for advice, even if they don't know your name. Oh, they know your name, yes, but they don't know it is you, the wild, crazy man atop of the cliff. The rest is new as well: New voodoo, new magic, new governors, new ships...
You don't even know this world anymore, and you have no idea if you really want to. The changes in the world feel different now, like they happened to someone else, and when you look down the the harbour, look down to the small city buzzing with life now, you feel like there was something more, something that captured you and held you captive with a love of their sea world as it was, with the free islands and you roaming between them, with Monkey Island and everything that started there, with voodoo curses and zombie pirates--
Someone is sitting next to you. You don't look up, not really. You nod in acknowledgement, but other than that it's quiet up here, even with the sea lapping at the harbour, even with the new uncommon sounds coming from the buzzing streets, loud voices, laughter, whispers of treasures, maps, and secrets.
You remember being in the middle of this all too clearly, and for a brief moment you try to remember this feeling, as if all the world has just pulled itself out of the Voodoo Lady's card, as if there was an easy way to pass the torch on to the next generation. But the man sitting next to you... The weather would have changed him had he been mortal, if ever so briefly, you are sure, but as it is, you hear, he is but an empty shell. You are tired though, so when the stranger who you once thought was your brother comes to your fireplace at the top of the cliff, in an island in a group of islands that hasn't been too prominent in recent years. Then you welcome him. He seems as lost as you are, in this new world. You have no idea how, but you care. Maybe the man sitting next to you cares too, you don't know. You never knew with LeChuck.
"I miss her," he says and you find yourself agreeing. If nothing else, this is true. You both miss her; you can give him that. You chat with him sometimes and it's fine, as long as nobody mentions her, as long as nothing gets said, everything is fine. You don't talk about the world changing, about your memories, about your past. About how you killed him again and again, how you were mortal enemies and yet you both are sitting here. The world is changing so fast, at a pace you weren't prepared for, and even though you only realized that now, it bears more meaning to you than any apologies, the companionship does. You don't need LeChuck's sorry; this, at least, wasn't his fault. She was just old.
And sometimes old people die.
Of old age, and after a long time, and after a happy, fulfilled life with you and yet...
"Do you know him? Guybrush Threepwood? I heard he started his journey here?" someone sometimes asks next to you, while you are watching the youth flock to you and the few of your friends that are still alive, and they ask for advice and you have no idea if that system is working. If pirating is really still the way to go.
"Yes," is your answer to the question. To all of them. You do know Threepwood. (Because you are him. Or, maybe: Because you were him. The dashing smart pirate with the mortal enemy and husband to the Governor Elaine Marley.) And yes, your journey started here.
And you think that if you answer these questions, if you help these young up-and-coming wannabe pirates, one day, maybe, you'll feel better.
And maybe one day you won't feel like dying when somebody mentions her name - maybe one day you won't flinch, maybe one day you can be the cold old pirate sitting on top of the cliff, and point down to the Lua bar. Maybe one day you will be surprised at LeChuck sitting with you at a fireplace on top of a cliff overlooking an Island that for a long time you had so many memories of, but the most prominent of those will always be her.
Maybe one day you can go elsewhere, anywhere, sail the world again. Even if you are old now as well, as if you would let that stop you.
Maybe one day you will get over losing her, but today is not that day. So you take a drink from your grog, huddle deeper into your blankets against the freezing cold winds up here, and look away from LeChuck with his flaming beard rivaling the fire, how he stares into the distance... As you do.
The distant sea knows no answer, but with its blue waves under the billions of stars, you can at least for a while forget how much you miss Elaine.