Thalassophobia

May 24, 2010
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I awoke that morning with the intention of taking a sail on the sea. I was severely disappointed when you refused.

“I’m sorry, Jack,” you said. Your voice was beautiful, so much that I couldn’t be angered at you for not wanting to sail.

“Lorna, why don’t you want to sail? The boat is completely hazard-free. And the swells are calm as can be today.”

It was then you told me that you were scared of the ocean, and that you always had been. You were scared of dying in the ocean, to be precise. At first, I chuckled, assuming you were joking. But you insisted that you couldn’t step toe in the water without having some sort of panic. From then on, as the decades passed, I found it hard to give up my love for the sea in order to keep my other love. But it wasn’t too difficult, and I accepted it.

With old age came your sickness. The bouts of sleep you experienced came and go. It was in between these times when you told me how happy I had made you. I replied the same, too pained to say anything else. It hurt me so to see you in a bed, limbs feeble and frail, like aged twigs. It was difficult for you to sit up. To eat. But you could sleep for days, never once moving your eyes beneath their lids.

Time ran gradually, like the flow of warm honey or the dribble of molasses. Your eyes--once resembling a creature’s colorful wings--dulled to grim silver. I recalled the glittering, mysterious blue-gray color they once were.

“Jack, listen to me,” you pleaded, grasping my hand. “I need to be free in a way I am comfortable. I won’t be comfortable in the ground, I fear. Please… after I die, burn my body. Keep my ashes and do what you will with them.”

I understood the concept as best I could. You wanted the opposite of your fear. Fire. It was hard to accept that you were still so frightened of the water, being so close to death.

“Of course. Whatever pleases you, Love.”

It was then that you slept once more. If only I had known it would be your last time to dream. Your last time to be at peace with the illness--such peace you could only achieve while in a deep comatose state.

I held your ashes in the urn that sat upon our mantle for half a century. My hands shook violently, my withered legs wobbling to and fro. The sand beneath the soles of my feet was soothing. The waves were calm, just as they had been the very first time I asked you to sail with me.

I solemnly inhaled the brine for a moment before tipping the urn and watching your remnants swirl in the foamy surf. Tears threatened to invade my eyes, but I managed to smile.

‘There,’ I thought. ‘You don’t have to fear it anymore.’





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