Forgotten, Sailor

Which way is land?
It’s been days and all I see is blue. Or grey. Or green.
No wind, no rain, no birds, no sound but the two of us.

“Which way is land?”
“Don’t worry, sailor, it’s nearby. I can feel it. Can’t you feel it? The current…”
“…yes, the current. I can feel it.”

Which way is land?
It’s like dreaming. Like sleeping. The pull of the waves. The lazy sun. The birds crying…
No. Not a bird. Just the hull creaking.

“Where was I going?”
“Have you forgotten, sailor?”
“I’m getting hungry…”

I reach down and scoop water into my mouth. Salty. Dirty. Dry.
The last bits of meat taste soft, like flower petals on my tongue.
I miss home.

“Which way is land?”
“You’re heading in the right direction, but be warned…”
“…Yes, I see the clouds. Gathering. It’s a storm, isn’t it?”
“Looks pretty bad, sailor.”

I lean back against the bow. Waiting for wind to tickle the sails. I don’t know how long I’ve been adrift, where I was going…I don’t remember my home.

I’m whistling the only song I can remember.
Do I remember it? Am I making it up?
I stop whistling, it’s bad luck.

“That’s a pretty song, sailor.”
“My mother taught it to me.”
“I bet she was pretty.”
“Which way is land?”

I whistle again. She whistles with me. Waves and a low, sad tune. It reminds me of the depression around Christmas. The pit in your stomach that comes from decorating a tree when you’re already tall enough to place the star…I miss my home.

I look over the side. The waves gently peaking, kissing my fingertips.
“Who is that looking back at me?”
“That’s who you could have been”
“Could I have been a good person?”

I try to wash the blood off of my pants. Fish? Human? Where is the rest of the crew?
I set sail alone. That has to be it.
I begin to whistle.

“Don’t you just love the ocean, sailor? You must.”
“I’m scared of it. The size frightens me. How far does it go down?”

I’m trying to remember things. It’s just the blood, her, and the song that keeps changing.
“Yep, that’s a big storm coming, sailor.”
“Will we get back home in time?”

I try to eat again. My tongue is dry. I suck on the piece of meat and it falls apart. I’m hungry.

“Where am I going?”
“Have you forgotten, sailor?”
“Did I ever know?”

She does a twirl, I start looking at the sky. The clouds are still gathering in the same place as before. Have I even moved? Are the waves just moving by the ship? The sails still hang limp, full of holes.

Things are starting to smell rotten.

“Have you ever been in love?”
“Once, maybe.”
“Was she beautiful?”
“I can’t remember. But she did teach me this one song.”

I begin to whistle again.

“Which way is land?”
No response.
“Which way is land?”
No response.

The clouds rumble in the distance.

“Which way is land?”
“You’re near. Don’t worry.”
“I think I love you.”

Is that a bird? Am I near land? A shadow passes over.

“Was that a bird? Are we near land?”
“Have you forgotten what a bird looks like, sailor? That was your sail, maybe the wind picked up.”

The sail lies flat. It’s getting warmer as the sun reaches higher. The dark clouds in the distance rumble, gather tighter, and begin to leave.
I feel alone. Abandoned.

I wave at my rippled reflection. He looks proud. Regal. I eat a piece of meat, and he smiles. A flower blooms on his lips.

“If he is who I could have been. Who am I now?”
“You are a beacon in the night.”
“But it’s day…”

She whistles a song. I copy, trying to learn it. It’s beautiful. It reminds me of my mother. Or of a girl that I loved with all of my heart when I was six.
She was always sick. I’d bring her flowers. We’d sleep in the sun.

“What’s my destiny?”
“You’re almost there.”

I see her smile for the first time. The clouds have changed course and are moving swiftly. Wind teases the sail.

“What’s my destiny?”
“To be forgotten, sailor.”

Her smile blooms, she turns, and dives back under the waves.

Written for a Chuck Windig Flash Fiction Challenge from HERE

About litbandit

El Bandito Bibliotequa...or something.
This entry was posted in Art, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Forgotten, Sailor

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    That’s excellent. Really well done.

  2. Pingback: Superstitious Sailors | MAIDEN ON THE MIDWAY

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