I thought forgiveness was exclusive to religion like an ocean to a buoy. I stayed the heck away from it. What happened to me was unforgivable. I could not forgive. I turned my ship to the open sea . I would forget what happened. I would be a success in life in spite of what happened. Onwards. I sailed into storms. I navigated storms. I saw myself as Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner “with sloping masts and dipping brow/as who pursued with yell and blow” . (photo by Hamish Brown Red magazine 2017)
I was embattled and strong. The captain of my destiny. I stood at the helm. The crew worked furiously behind me because I was working furiously in front of them. I shouted instructions through stinging rain. Years passed. The crew tired. Somewhre in me I became envious of the ships back in the bay. I spied on the second in command. He was selfish, duplicitous, a scavenger whose sole aim was to steal my food, undermine my confidence and take my ship.
I plotted my journey. I couldn’t trust the crew any more. Any of them. They had the eyes of mutiny. This is how it was. This is how life was. Trust noone. And it’s how it was for years. I kept it secret. I gathered resentments. There were as many as the waves. I became angry with the sea. The sea. The sea. I knew this was illogical so I fell into silence. I mumbled instructions and avoided eye contact.
For reasons beyond me as the sun rose on a storm I fell onto all fours and crawled the deck like a mad dog. I barked and snapped at the crew and then as night fell and the moon invaded I curled into the bow like an ever tightening knot and wept.
The crew stood around me. The storm raged around us. The sails were in tatters. The ship was a skeleton. “What did I do wrong” I shouted. What did I do. A sailor shouted at me . but I couldn’t hear. Another shouted and I couldn’t hear him either. I couldn’t hear anyone. Only my snarls at the inequity of my situation and the hatefulness around me. By now they were all screaming at me louder and louder as the ship tilted. I couldn’t hear any of them.
One by one I looked at the phlegm flicked opening lips of the crew. Their weathered skin moved like sand dunes in the wind. For ten whole seconds all sound stopped. And all I heard were the whispered words of a woman coming from the screaming face of a heavy set round shouldered sailor man. This is what she said The buoys are not warnings of danger. They are signals for direction. Follow them when you can. Let the current take you.
Ask me what happened and I will tell you.