The soundtrack to dying is not that of Death’s winged chariot hurtling from the sky, but rather one of nurses’ trainers sticking on worn lino, of saline drips ticking over, of low, urgent voices in hospice corridors.
It feels as though a lot is expected of me today. Strange, because there is really nothing left unresolved. The coffin awaiting its descent into the frosty ground is testament to that. It lies there, a timber cuboid. The ultimate full stop.
On days like this I struggle to believe it happened. It did, though – right here on this beach.
Ankle-high rollers curl in over the pebbles, just a trace of foam on the forerunners as they lazily reach up the brown sand. It’s flat calm as far as the eye can see, with matted grey clouds reflected back up towards the sky.
As changeable as the sea, they say. If only that were true. Since you were taken from me one spring morning I’ve tried to follow, I really have. I’ve waded out from our private little beach, out as far as you did that day. The undertow signs promise much but deliver little. I haven’t felt so much as a tickle around my ankles when I’ve stood waist deep out there.
I could weight myself down of course, be dragged beneath the waves as Virginia Woolf was. That seems too serene though, not at all like your experience. I want to fight the tow the same way that you did. I want to hear the pebbles rattle and shift underneath me, to see the sun’s rays slant down through the sediment-heavy water as I strain for the surface.
No such luck today. The saltwater laps gently around my chest, languidly stirred into movement by the limpest of winds. It’s not even chilly.
I shiver nonetheless. A man who has experienced shipwreck shudders at even a calm sea. They say that, too.
***Thanks for reading folks. Any comments much appreciated!***