Fiction

Sailing

When I make fast the jib sheet and lie back with my arms crossed under my head, I watch the sail shiver and grow taut as it catches a gust of wind. Our boat, the Sea Wind, glides cleanly through the splashing waves. Streaks of purple, pink, and orange play on the horizon as the day slowly fades. Evening unfolds his glistening cloak, revealing the majesty of his constellations; they are the gemstones set in its folds. The night sky, speckled with stars, is teeming with life. Quieting the murmur of my mind, I can hear the heavy breathing of the rest of the crew mingled with the distant chirping of the crickets on land.


As the boat heels, a splash leaves a salty residue on my face. But there is no time to take notice of trivial things. “Hurry! Grab anything that won’t give!” the captain shouts in haste, and we grip until our knuckles are white, fearful of falling into the torrid unknown. The whole world seems to pause, suspended in wonder. I feel as though I was born for this and still I am afraid that I am merely in a dream. The ocean and the Sea Wind are at play; he fondles her and she awakens, her sails swell with desire. But the ocean is fickle and he strikes with a furious wave. The crew heaves with her as she tries to stay afloat. My blood courses with adrenaline.

Try as we might, we cannot harness the ocean that tosses us about carelessly in her palm. We are subject to her whim and can only hope to stay intact until she tires. The wind is equally beyond our grasp now, threatening to tear apart our means of returning home. We forget to think because the danger and excitement of the moment consumes us. I can hear only the chorus of our screams. Abandoning fear and inevitability, I pitch my body against the force of the wind. I am, if only for a moment, free from all my inhibitions and social constraints. I shake my hair in a crazed frenzy- oh it is sublime to be one with the elements in a world that swallows all!

And so we wonder, and heave, and wait.

At last the wind grows calm and the ocean waves subside. Still, the water is alive beneath us, the hum-buzz vibrations echo through the hull into our very bones. My body quakes and goes still. The noises around me drown in the silence of my mind. My soul lies bare to the heavens and listens to the voice of God.

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About Jean C Wong

I am a world traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. I've lived all over the world and speak 5 languages.

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Photos

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Waking up in Halong Bay

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