The memory is firmly fixed in my mind, probing and
gnawing me, sinking its teeth into my flesh. Images flash before my eyes
constantly, enveloped in a grievous fog. Do you remember how you fed me
leftover salmon and bread every morning? How you spoke to me? Ruffled my
feathers? Then you were a living, breathing being. I remember that day
all too clearly.
“All hands! All hands!” boomed a voice from the deck. You probed your
way out of the cabin. Thunder roared a welcome; a blanket of lightning
blinded you. From the sky swivelled a sheet of water. The hurricane was
a horse thundering down the sea and crushing you. Astounded, you
staggered in the seawater. Your knees gave away as sudden blasts of wind
hailed on your shoulders. Something swept over your head. You gasped for
breath, whirling your arms for something to grasp. A shrill cry -
someone had been hurled overboard.
The wind screamed like an angry woman at midnight. Waves avalanched over
the ship like a bandit escaped from prison – blindly stinging everything
in sight. Boards swivelled over you, banging your head and puncturing
deep cuts in your back and arms. You grabbed a board, tripped over a
water pump, fell, sank. A wave choked you with its evil laughter,
wrapping itself around you. More cries echoed as the ship slowly
vanished out of sight. The foam pushed you deeper into the sea. Seawater
helped by piercing your lungs. Choking for breath, you kicked and
screamed, but then darkness thrust its spears. Squished you. Wrung you
like a cloth out of the drier. Like a mouse in the jaws of a
rattlesnake. More saltwater fired down your throat.
Then silence. Anguish restrained.
A small group of fish spilled from behind a rock. A host of seagulls
cried in the wilderness. Destitution stepped forward. Something crashed
on your head. Your life flashed: lightning mingled with stars. Your arms
reached towards the clouds above, in a final, failing attempt to sustain
life. Your body rose; fought; heaved; slumped; lost; sank; you died.
I wish you could feel the streak of pain that coiled down my stomach the
moment I saw your ragged body burying itself under the sea. I wish you
could know how many times I dived into the depth of the sea, gazing at
your abandoned figure in utter misery and agony. I wish I could tell the
whole world to never set sail in the Atlantic again.
But then again, I’m only a seagull. And you are only a skeleton resting
on a weedy sand bed.