As I would look out to the sea with my companions by my side, I would relish their presence and sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much they meant to me. In each and every one of them lay a small piece of me that they carried with such grace that I felt that I trusted them to the end of the world, and then back again. God bless them, and us. But then I left the sand and shingle of the beach and I braced myself for another world with more places and faces for me to see, more friends who would carry the most important parts of me with equal poise and charm as my current ones.
I am always trying to understand what drove me away, or rather, what didn’t keep me there. To say that I cherished them was an understatement; they were what kept my heart alive at night. But I always felt that there was something missing from me (but not the parts that I had given away). So I left, with filmy eyes with the hope to find what it was I was looking for. I was hunted through night and day, to return to my homeland and to return to the sea (it was forever calling me). I met their stare and ran until my heart would scream in my chest, but even then I felt my feet would carry on, like they somehow knew that the fight was not over. The wanted me home and like savages they tried to find me. My heart grew weary, and my will grew weak. If I had had a definite goal perhaps things would have been different, but I had no real aim, no solid objective to work towards, so I felt this weight around my neck, an emblem of everything I’d rather forget. When I slept I dreamt of far off places with the light shimmering over my face, smile wide and arms out, counting my blessings for finding this place (where I would call home).
For two days I walked through tangled trees and winding vines, and my heart became heaver and heavier, until it felt like I had a concrete necklace around my neck. My legs would take me no further, they had had enough and they missed the love of my companions. It was so hard to not recall them, their faces and laughter and tears. It was like they haunted me, day and night, through every waking minute and then into my dreams. Sometimes I would shriek and bawl and they fled from me, but they always had a way of revisiting. Eventually, my heart sank and with it I fell, and for six days I was swept along the riverbed, no recollection of where I was, all I saw were silver lights. I felt so alone, so cold, and my bones shook inside me. I would flicker in and out of consciousness, grasping my faithful compass and holding on for hope. I was steered to the ocean, where I lay for five days. My eyes darted to and fro, searching for some kind of familiar notion beneath that bitter liquid silk. I saw ships and I saw sunlight, but no one was there to rescue me, sails bellowing like clouds from some softer world. I lay, almost dead, supine and not longing for anybody anymore. For all my concerns for better faces were washed away with the sea, and I lay dormant on the ocean bed for hours on end. My lungs were filled and drowned; yet still I lived, breathing somehow. I gazed at the creatures, painted like a rainbow through a shimmering film, distorted and hazy through my ever-blinded eyes, but they did not hear my pleas. I was truly alone; instead of my homeland I found solitude, dusky and icy, like the mantle of a fluid night. Only, amongst this darkness I found neither stars nor shine to guide my way home, and so I slept. As I slept, I dreamt, and in my dreams I saw the horrors of open mouths swallowing my sun and talons scrape away at the skin stretched over my bones. My cries were silent against the water, my muscles convulsing against my body. They were trying to get out, to be free, and still I couldn’t find it in me to pick myself up and get up off my knees to escape this lonely blue hellhole. Where were they, God damn it, where were these people that I was striving to find! Once again my heart grew heavy in my chest, and this time I felt unable to find my way out.
And on the fifth day, I heard it. It was as if they were singing to me through the sea, calling for me “We are here to save you, brother! We are here to bring you home!” and I felt my heart shoot up between my ribs where it belonged, and it began to beat like it had never done before, harder and harder as my arms reached up towards the lights! However, then my nightmares came to haunt me, white figures as weightless as a miasma trying to swallow my soul, and my newfound companions dived in and so the war raged; I did not fight alone. With truth and beauty as our weapons, we shot our faithful bullets into them, and they died with explosions that rippled the ocean around us. Triumphant, we swam to the beach.
And here I found you. Waiting, and smiling, with rose tinted lips and sandy locks that trembled with the wind. You were so beautiful, so pure, that I felt my chest swell with such brilliance I thought I would burst. My whole body, although hacked and raw, seemed lighter, and I felt like I had a bird in my stomach, darting from corner to corner, brushing my insides with an instant hunger for your touch, your voice. Your voice! So precious to me, so uplifting. I fell in instant love, just by how stunning you were to me. And yet, when your azure eyes fell on me I could sense nothing but dissatisfaction from you. Clearly you were waiting for someone else, and all of a sudden I wanted to turn back. Hell, I would have gone through ten years on that ocean floor just to get back home, or to have you in my arms. I believed so strongly this is where you belonged, or maybe I in yours. You seemed so natural to me, so remarkable, and yet my love was unrequited. Although I now had my fellow brothers around me, these people whom I had been yearning for, for so long, I felt lost. I felt unwanted, useless to this newfound place. I was greeted with smiles but it felt more like a cover from the fever I wanted you to feel for me. I wanted you to feel this lust, this interest, and you ABANDONED me to fall on my back, forced to remember your faultless face for the rest of my days.
Now I am old, and withered, and I have returned home to where my first companions reside. We spend our days in the gentle sunshine, feeling blessed to have lead such good lives. Our grandchildren kick up sand in dusty, glittering piles, the shingle still sitting quietly, untouched. We have told them of our travels, of other faces and of other times we have experienced. Around our desires they would sit with marvelled faces, with a desire to see the outside world but then I would tell them of my turmoil to reach you, of those monsters of the deep. That concrete necklace, those hunters and my fears. It is hard to deal with a heart that wants to break out of its casement of bone, and with my tale their eyes widened in what looked like terror. I hope to God that they don’t go through what I have been though.
My days are numbered, starshine, but I know that in my heart of hearts I wanted you to know just why it was I left. Although you did not ache for me equally I felt something from you. Maybe a tick from your heart grow faster when you were near me, but that may have been because I was from a distant land and you were simply fascinated with my being, not with my heart or my head or what I did like and what I didn’t. (I liked the way small waves formed and fell, and I didn’t like the cold.)
And in heaven my friend, I will see you and wave by, for we are nothing but passing ships, and I have learned to disappear from your eyes and your heart and your mind. They say let the bridges you burn light your way, but I am walking away from them, for there are lights all along this tunnel.