I felt like a ship, floating endlessly on the empty sea. The bleak horizon blinked at my lonely figure from each corner, an infinite loop surrounding me.
I was floating when I met him. Another ship. Another sail that flickered alongside mine in harmony. And so I dropped anchor. We watched each other from opposites sides of our ships and begged the other to lower the gangway.
But neither budged.
I tried to relate. I imagined life on his ship and it filled me. The warmth was like a hug from a memory, gentle and quiet. And so we watched each other. I think he felt it too. That warmth, distantly caressing the other and pretending we could provide the comfort of a true embrace.
But the horizon called to me again. My stagnancy scared me. I felt the rot building beneath the cracked wooden floors and so I called to him, one final time. Begged him to join me, to sail with me. But he was comfortable on his ship and deep down I was uncomfortable on the sea.
So we pulled up our anchors and sailed away to our opposite horizons.
I watched his ship for a long time. Watched it fade into the distance, watched the speck of his memory kiss the heavens as it was swallowed by the gap between the sea and sky.
I watched for so long. Unsure why I was so transfixed. Unsure why my ship suddenly felt hollow and empty, despite his lack of touch.
And so I floated. Again surrounded by the empty sea on all sides.
Other ships passed. Fleeting caresses on cold nights, where the winds ripped my hair back and nipped at my exposed skin. But they never lasted. They were as hollow as my own, looking only for a brief flickering flame before returning to their journey.
As the days turned to months I began to question my purpose on this sea. I looked for a direction, a path in the emptiness, anything to lead me where I was supposed to go.
I was daydreaming on my back watching the sky when he sailed by again. So quietly, I almost missed it.
His ship was torn, the edges scraped and raw. His eyes were fixed away from me, focused on the horizon. I called out, begged him to pause. Offered to walk over and settle myself on his ship. I was ready. This was the path.
He held out his hand and pulled me aboard. He allowed me to rebuild his ship, carefully placing new edges under his watchful eye. When it was done he sailed on. Content. His ship rebuilt and whole.
Once more I was left with only the planks beneath my feet and the endless rolling ocean.
The failure stung more than I thought possible. The work I put in to help him radiated away from me, leaving me cold and hopeless. I felt myself fall to the ground in anguish, crying till the decking was slick with my tears.
I barely felt the bump as my ship found land.
An island. In the middle of the sea.
He met me on the edge and helped me down. He showed me his island. Walked me through his home and offered me a place to rest. His stability surrounded me like an old friend. He knew what I needed, and he gave like he had been waiting his whole life for the opportunity to do so.
My ship remained on the shore as we explored. As we laughed, and played and pretended the sea ended on our island. Our home. Our place.
But it was never truly ours. It was his island, his home, his warmth that was cocooning me, protecting me from the storm, the sea and the horizon. I spent so long in his embrace I forgot everything else. We planned the life we would lead, the island we could create.
And he wanted me to stay. His island was big enough to share. But it wasn't mine.
And so we fought. We threw sand and screamed and begged and cried. But he was destined for his island and I was destined for the sea.
And so we agreed, it was time for me to leave.
He offered me safety, if ever I needed land beneath my feet to return to. He waved me goodbye as my ship sailed back out into the ocean.
Again, I found myself watching his island until it sunk beneath the edge.
Again, I found myself surrounded by the endless sea, pressing in on me.
But I found my direction, something to lead me through the distance. An island of my own. A place where I can rest, alone, till I discover how to be on my own. To warm myself.
To hold myself, not like a memory or an old friend, but in a way that is wholly my own. An embrace with no limits.
And so I sail.
I can almost see it now, the appeal of the horizon as it draws ever closer. Taking me on.
Till next time,