The ferry is tilting. I am terrified. I am alone and I am terrified.
I stand on the deck. I smoke because there’s nothing else to do. The sky glows gold until it bleeds into blue. The seagulls swoop in origami lines as they chase us, their wings bending like sideways apostrophes, quoting a language I dream about. I am not scared of flying. Not touching the ground does not scare me. Gravity does. I imagine the ocean dragging me down, my fragile limbs flailing, failing to beat its unbeatable weight. I used to think it was the magnitude of the sea that scared me but you cannot fight the infinity of the sky and the infinity of it is what makes me feel free.
Why am I willing to soar and crash but not to swim and drown? Do I live by dreaming? Is the ocean a sign of my aversion to reality?
A seagull flies so close I can almost read his eyes. His mean beak pierces the air but he is no match for our speed. He is the last-standing warrior. I follow him until he stops following us. Soon I will have to go inside where the world tilts. My heartbeat crashes in my ears; I am my own conch shell. I go inside even though I don’t want to because I don’t want to start this weekend with panic. Because I have Sudoku, and there is safety in numbers. Because I don’t smoke so much anymore, and the role of the lonely traveller is getting boring.
It’s hard to put a ship out of sight, out of mind. I think of The Little Mermaid, she would never let me drown. I should eat, but I don’t.
Later, I smoke again -for the hell of it- and I see the sky is orange, spilling over the mountains, oppressed by purple, darkening into denim blue. My sky.
A lighthouse blinks in the corner. I am a sailer of the heart, coasting oceans of emotion, trying to decipher lighthouse morse code. Sometimes I get close, but I haven’t let down anchor in years. I used to think I was a pirate, but actually, I am the patient mariner.
I smoke because there’s nothing else to do. Because that’s what lonely travellers are supposed to do. The ash falls into the light; silver flakes that disappear in foam. The lighthouse beeps in the distance but I’m already facing a different horizon.
I don’t drown.