The waves follow the swirls and movements of the brooding dark clouds. Only quicker. Looking up, I follow them with my finger. Gentle, delicate cloud formations, created by intervals of high and low pressure. It’s quite amazing, that something so far away, can create such a turbulent voyage.
It’s a place I call home. Staring into the flowing waves coming towards us as they crash against the bow, spraying the salty water over the deck, I find that there’s nothing I would want more from life. A peculiar request perhaps, to find comfort in something with such ambiguity. The ocean carries a terrifying omnipotence: unlimited power, impossible to stop and control. Yet, on a calm spring morning, the waves become reminiscent of a mil-pond, or a painting in Monet’s Water Lily Series, a calmness which brings an inner tranquillity as you look into the infinite horizon, a feeling that is only achievable out at sea.
I ring the bell as a harsh reminder to the mariners, that on days like this (far from the tranquillity we seldom see) we place life and death in the palm of our hands. It may seem an exaggeration, but it is not. The confidence the seamen place into me as their captain, in charge of ensuring their safety, in addition to their belongings, innermost secrets as their counsellor is a responsibility that I don’t carry lightly, but a burden I place upon myself nonetheless.
It is a test of character. I have a number of different jobs and functions aboard this ship (some of which, I did not sign up for) that I have been forced into doing. It is a shame, as the sailors bring it upon themselves to take from me, giving very little in return. I relish an opportunity to be selfless, and show them a love to them reserved for my family. Indeed, they are my family aboard this ship, as the people’s feelings whom I will return to in the future, may well have been extinguished.
Cooped up for months, sharing the same candlelit lit innards of the ship brings us closer together. Naturally, of course. Understanding the eyes others use, to hide their full house behind five playing cards, and the vocabulary they discover after a few drinks. The light is reminiscent of a pub in the 1980s, and so is the smell, reserved for stale smoke and a slight lingering of sweat and alcohol which makes me so unusually think to myself. ‘Yes, this is a shithole, but it’s my shithole’.
I run my hands along the side of the ship, the wooden hand rail splinters me slightly as it needs to be sanded. Having hands that have been exposed to the harshness of the elements, I can withstand a few splinters. As I look down from the bridge, I catch the mariners running around, scattered, disorganised, like an orchestra without their composer, footballers without their managers, and so on. I say nothing, and quietly observe. It’s almost funny, but brings a certain melancholy to the voyage, how I would love to confide in somebody, and talk, just as they talk to me about their problems, stray morals and absent emotion.
Looking into the distance, I can see the outline of land, a similarly omnipotent structure, submerged in darkness and shadow. Out of the darkness, comes the light. However dark it seems, there will always be light deep in the darkness, it will always be there to find you, and steer you in the right way. When anyone sees a lighthouse, they stay clear. Don’t they?