Grey-cold clouds float. Turbulent waters crash about. Lightning flashes across the sea. Thunder crackles. A lone seabird folds its wings gracefully and makes a deft dive deep down for dinner. It returns to the surface with nothing, then dives again for another try. Salt crusted eyes peer over the sleepless sea, watching the bird dive, never resting always diving.
Coarsely cracked hands slip into the drooping chest pocket of a raggedy flannel. Popping back the top, the hand pulls out the last Maverick. The hand sets it between wind dried lips, while the other reaches into holey jeans to remove a tarnished lighter. One hand shields the tip from the threatening sea’s breath. The other struggles to flick on the dried up lighter. Giving it one last flick the lighter kicks up a flame that lasts. The tip lights and the flame vanishes.
The bird surfaces near the pier, where it bobs on the waves. What a life. Dives again and again, but never gets what it desires. All of the energy exerted on searching and nothing in return. The bird never deserved this life. It was born to travel the sea, so why must the sea starve it? The crusty eyes rise and dip with the bird, as waves bounce it along waiting for an opportunity. Life is not as beautiful as it once was.
Scattered white fluffs of clouds float. Tranquil waters flow. Dolphin backs flash across the sea. A man’s voice crackles as he points out a lone seabird that folds its wings gracefully and makes a deft dive deep down for dinner. It returns to the surface with nothing, then dives again for another try. Optimistic blue eyes of a young boy peer over the sleepless sea, watching the bird dive, never resting always diving.
The man and the boy sit on the deck of a ship. The man loops together a sturdy knot, effortlessly, tugging on it to ensure its strength. The boy struggles to mimic the man’s flawlessness, but with little success. Like the bird that always dives, the boy always strives for this man’s approval. The man tugs on the boy’s knot, causing it to unravel. Snatching the rope back, the boy makes another attempt.
The boy tries again and again, until frustration gets the best of him. Throwing the rope down, he rises and begins ranting. Why can he not knot? He dreams of being a sailor, but he cannot complete the simplest sailing tasks. Raging, the boy stomps around the ship’s deck.
Rising slowly the man gets to his feet and meanders his way to the ranting boy. Once within in reaching distance the man reaches his hand out to the boy, and roughly shoves him to the ground. Infuriated by the man’s actions, the boy gets to his feet and dives at the man hoping to bring him down. The man stands strong and shoves the boy back to the ground. The boy keeps rising to tackle the man, but never succeeds. Surrendering the boy remains on the ships deck and does not rise. The man smirks and turns to go back to knot tying.
The man is thrown to the deck as a small force knocks into him. Pinned to the deck by the boy, the man begins laughing. The boy’s frustration diminishes and he crawls off the man’s back. The boy follows the man’s lead. Both laugh about their skirmish.
Never give up. Always make one more dive. If you want food bad enough you will keep diving. If you want to tie a knot and be a sailor someday never give up. You have to keep working towards your goals, but have patience. Sometimes you need to wait for the opportunity to arise, and when you see it attack it full force. The words of his brother, the man, fill the boy’s thoughts and make a home in his memory.
The man, an expert sailor, and the boy, a greenhorn, both love the sea. Neither would ask for anything else, except to be able to sail the sea in their own boat together. The two vow to make enough money to buy themselves a boat and not have to work on someone else’s. Their dream is to sail the sea and have one amazing adventure together.
The chapped lips smirk as the mind replays the adventures from the past. Like a sun the tip burns bright, smoke sails the air, and the little sun goes out. Glowing ash from the Maverick float down, where the sea snuffs them out. The hand rolls the lighter over, while the eyes scan over it. The wrinkled fingers slide over an embossed O, P, body of a sea maiden, I, and Z. The eyes stare at the treasured image of a ship, with sails still like white clouds. A lost adventure. A salty droplet lands on the sails, but is quickly brushed away by the wrinkled finger. He just wanted to sail the seas. To be like the sea. A unique being. Independent. How the mind wishes it could be like the man who taught it to love the sea.
The man pulls out his cigarettes from his ragged flannel. From torn shorts he pulls out a lighter. After making a sexual comment about the scarcely clad lady, who poses on the lighter between an I and P. The two laugh. Oh, would it be nice to own a ship like the one that sails on the lighter. The man lights the cigarette, the flame lighting up his face. The boy stares mesmerized at the invincible being who stands before him. The man offers the boy a cigarette. The boy eagerly takes the pack and the lighter.
The captain of the ship approaches the two and speaks quickly to the man. The two leave the boy. Ablivious to the two men, the boy struggles to keep the cigarette in his mouth as he attempts to light it.
After many attempts and not giving up, the tip of the cigarette burns and the boy coughs up his first draw. Proud of his accomplishment, he rushes to find the man and return the rest of the cigarettes and his lighter.
Searching everywhere the boy cannot find the man. Exhausting every ounce of energy on finding the man, the boy looks in every nook and cranny of the ship. While searching below deck, the boy looks at the man’s hammock, hoping to find the man resting. Finding only a holey sheet drooping over the side of an empty bed the boy rushes up to the deck with one last hope of finding the man.
The deck of the ship is dark and made slick by a raging storm. On the deck, the boy is battered with violent winds. Turbulent waves rock the ship, causing the boy to lose his balance and collapse to the deck. The lighter slips out of his grip and slides across the slippery deck. The boy scrambles to his feet to retrieve the man’s lighter.
Lightning strikes, brightening the deck. The boy makes his way to the lighter that slides across the ship. Thunder ravages through the air. Cornering the lighter, the boy is able to snatch it up. He briefly runs his fingers across the lady and the ship and puts it in his pocket with the man’s pack of cigarettes.
Steadying his self on the rail the boy stands and looks across the storming sea. A small lifeboat is threatened by enormous maverick waves. A man struggles to control the small boat and prevent it from capsizing. The man never gives up as he disappears behind the giant swells.
The boy collapses to the deck in tears as the man vanishes. Tears course down the boy’s face and sting as they wash over his sun burnt skin.
The ship’s rocking slows and the rain subsides, but the clouds remain. Climbing to his feet the boy scans over the sea, looking for a small boat. Nothing. The boy looks in every direction hoping to catch a glimpse of the boat. Nothing. He keeps looking, not giving up. Days go by and still no sign of the man.
The boy lights a cigarette. A lone bird screeches in the air above. The boy runs his fingers over the lighter and remembers the words of the man. The boy keeps looking for him.
An early morning breeze, freezes the boy, but not giving up, he keeps looking for the man. In the distance, the boy sees a dark object disturbing the morning sun’s reflection on the water. Attempting to get a better view, he leans over the edge of the boat. Straining his eyes to make out the object, a feeling of hope washes over him. Hope fills his thoughts. As the lone seabird shrieks a sickening sound, the boy tumbles overboard toward the sea. The lone bird flies over him as he plummets. The bird’s smirk mocks the boy’s inability to fly and be independent. What a wretched winged raptor. It does not deserve a life like it has. It has done nothing to deserve a life so grand, carefree, and adventurous. It feels no guilt or sorrow with the loss of its brother and does not search for him every day.
A sea bird, a sign of freedom, hope, and success to all sailors. What a befouled belief. This bird that mocks him so, is a puppet of the sea, relying on what the sea can give. The bird has no hope, it has not feasted during this time that it spent in the presence of the weathered body. This bird is not successful, it has lost family and its sense of adventure. Why should this bird live in this world?
The eyes snap up, as the bird splashes out of the water back into the sky, where it is free. Infuriated with the lost hope of owning a boat, travelling the world, and being with the man, the scrawny arm flings the lighter at the bird. The bird veers up avoiding collision with the lighter. The lighter splashes into the sea, where it begins its descent to where it is to be buried. The bird dives for food.
Collapsed on the pier deck is the weathered boy’s body. It sits there, with one hand wiping the salty streams off the wind burned cheeks. The other hand holds the smoldering bud. One last puff, the bud drops onto the pier deck. The boy rises to its feet. A worn sneaker, turned white by the sea air, drowns the sun out. Disrupting the roaring of the waves, is the hacking of air. The fragile boy fights for fresh air, finding it futile.
Crashing through the surface the bird juggles something in its beak. Tossing it back, it swallows. The sea maiden and white sails make their way down the bird’s throat, stopping midway. Crudely flying the bird struggles to regurgitate the object. Striking the pier deck the bird leaves a crimson stain and tumbles into sea where it is to be buried.
Finally, able to breath the boy spits out the products of the hacking onto the pier deck, leaving speckles. The hacking begins again. The lungs struggles for air. Diving deep down the body searches for the ability to clear its throat, but finds nothing. Then dives again for another try. What a life. Dives again and again, but never gets what it desires. All the energy exerted on searching and nothing in return. The boy never deserved this life. He was born to travel the sea, so why must the sea starve it? Crudely the body strikes the pier. Crimson specs splatter from the chapped lips staining the pier. The body tumbles over into the sea where it is to be buried.