I awoke with the sea breathing heavily on me. “Wake up” it said. I don’t know why. The stars were still brightly weighing the sky, scattered like dust. I lay on my back. All the better to view the sky rotating around me. My arms hung limply at my sides, their strength sapped from rowing. They no longer worked for me, they decided the work was meaningless. I told them “row to safety” but in the vast ocean, safety doesn’t exist. So instead of work, they rest. They accepted their fate, and so have I. I sobbed weakly. My tears would mingle with the salt of the ocean. I could taste them on my lips.
The water lapped curiously around the boat. I ignored it. I was surrounded by the shell of the lifeboat. My only window into the world was directly in front of me, the sky. As small as I felt, i only had to close my eyes and the sky would be gone. Powerless as I was, I could ignore the sky, just as I ignored the waves.
While the hunger had left me, the thirst had pressed on. I only hoped the thirst would leave me as well. It was a selfish comforter. It nagged at my stomach and dried my mouth. The furious thirst only wanted to be quenched, yet I could not obliged it, so it punished me. Powerless, I drift, and I want.
I could hear myself murmuring. Murmuring to my friend the sky, to my grudging companion the sea, to the fear gripping my soul. I asked for forgiveness, I whispered for help, my reply was the wind, and the stars melting into the horizon. I told them farewell, I hoped they’d return.
Steeped in bitterness I awaited the rising sun. His bright gladness only made me suffer more. The heat of the day blistered my lips. I could not stare up any longer, I had to face the sea, or face down and cower before my rivals.
The sun is honest, it does not play favorites. The sun will shine no matter what, and it does not listen to your prayers for shade or respite. It’s responsibilities are larger than your whining. It needs to grow, to nurture the land, to give life to all before it has to travel to other lands, to spread its warmth again. The sun doesn’t mind if you seek shelter, but it cannot hide itself from you. The sea is a different matter.
The sea is fickle. It plays on your desires, it hears your prayers. It sweeps you up in its arms, and makes you its friend, only to dash you against the rocks. It will swallow you whole after gently rocking you to sleep. One day it will rush you to safety, the next it will bar you from returning home, and laugh as it glides you to uncertain oceans. . . Right now in the calm, smooth ocean, the sea and I were friends. I would gently slide my hands into the water, and feel the cool liquid against my sun-baked skin. Water would continue to brush the side of my boat warmly. Threatening to jump right in and sink me, but today it showed restraint; even playfulness.
I strained my eyes to see in the distance, which I did often during the days. Always to be disappointed with the same: Ocean, as far as I could see in every direction. My strength to hope dwindled every day; yet not matter what, the light where the sky and the ocean touched always gave me the slightest brimming hope.
My heat stricken body could take no more, I drifted into a broken and exhausted sleep. Only to be awoken again in the night, by my rival, the sea, and my friend the sky, greeting me, “Goodnight” it said.
“Goodnight” I said, and after four days and four nights of drifting, I thought I would sleep a bit longer this time, perhaps for all eternity.
The sea had different plans. I awoke again, after a long time, to a sound I had not heard in a long, long time: The breaking of waves against the sand.
“Hello” I said to the stranger.