The ocean is three miles from my room. On clear days, I can see the reflections on its surface. Silver beads, going back and forth with the waves. Salty air filling the space and traveling into my nostrils. The ocean , our friend and enemy, our past and future: the source of pride of the island. Me, a little girl of 13 gazing out of the window into the endless ocean.
Last week, someone in the village died. A fisherman , Solomon was his name. He fished cod , haddock and squid. Was he old ? I don’t think so. Did he have any kids ? None that I know of, mom never mentioned them. He was not found.. the blue green boat of his returned to the harbor alone, empty, no sign of him.
The funeral , the first I’ve been to since the death of my pops four years ago. Nothing remarkable , dirt scattered on a coffin, a sermon of God, death, peace everlasting. Half of the village went to the cemetery, some alone and some with others..hunched shadows in the light of a grey sun. Some cried, I heard his wife, now called a widow according to my dog eared dictionary, cry into the dark open pit of grave. Weeping and crying for the days to come, I suppose.
Young girls are not allowed to the funeral, our parents try to keep us from being contaminated by sadness. Pure shall we stay till someday.. or that what mom says.
After the funeral i walked to the ocean. Barefoot , in my Sunday pink dress, with buttons up to here – my neck- and a straw hat. Most of the shops were closed except Mrs Noseworthy, the grocer, I purchased some red hard candy from the glass box by the till. 2 cents worth of candy. Thanks Mrs and i ran away after throwing the two dark coins on the counter.
Do I usually walk alone, you may be asking yourself? Yes it is safe here , people do know each others. Life is simple , we have one radio machine in town and men surround it to hear about the war or a thing they call news.
So I walked, slowly on the main dirt road. No strangers was passing by, I was alone.. my dictionary with me, a book i won from Mr Johnson , the English teacher for reciting a Victorian poem called Rest by a female poet
O EARTH, lie heavily upon her eyes; Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
She hath no questions, she hath no replies, Hush’d in and curtain’d with a blessèd dearth Of all that irk’d her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise. Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her, Silence more musical than any song;
Even her very heart has ceased to stir: Until the morning of Eternity Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.
The ocean is closer, when my eyes are closed shut. The salty air guids me to the harbour, to the boats, to the gutted fish and seagulls. The sun still playing on the surface, shades and shadows drawn and erased with waves. Red and white stripped lighthouse stands on the mouth of the harbour to welcome strangers from strange lands.
Jeevis’s red and black boat is coming in, a trail of seagull flying over, I hope none would drop a gift on my hat. The boat slowly gets close, paving its way, more like carving it on the ocean.