Part 27

Tiny Biyadhoo, a few minutes from end
to end, bleached sand and limpid blue
water, caught in the wrath of an angry
storm that wanted to rip it out of the
Indian Ocean — all night, raging wind and
sea and the echoing loud. A statement of
ownership. A statement of belonging.
In the morning, waves lap gently, as if
nothing happened. Stingrays snorkel

with intrepid humans, bent coconut palms
straighten themselves slowly, returning to
the sky. Shark pups move in to forage under
the jetty at dusk and at night, as plankton
gleam a vivid blue-white, a rough motorboat
anchors where red snapper bite, plastic wire
slices into palms as fish resist, moonlight is
trapped in the open eye of one, still quite
alive, everywhere the smell of life and quiet

and salt and time. As if the universe slides
into the seat next to mine and pours a drink.
As if we clink glasses. As if the silence is raw,
like sand on skin, like hard shell against a
naked sole. As if there’s nothing but me and
ocean all around — the meaning of freedom,
the meaning of captivity. The universe doesn’t
say anything. We never learnt to speak each
other’s language. At this rate, we never will.

(Biyadhoo, South Malé Atoll, Maldives)

16 thoughts on “Part 27

  1. Ah, the magic of tropical beaches! Which have so much in common, wherever they are, yet each has its own unique flavour too. A bit like the people herein? Sad when, even with such a backdrop, a common language can’t be found.


      1. Ha, thanks for the elucidation! At first I did think you meant to personify the universe at large, thanks to the ‘as ifs’. But then I thought the last few sentences must refer to a specific human being. Well, perhaps that is because, although I often feel at odds with the world, I always regard the Universe as my loving friend. Perhaps it’s a very subjective thing, either way?


        1. Perhaps it is a changing/ evolving thing, the feeling towards people and our microuniverses deriving from our relationship with the larger one, or the other way round… perhaps there are some who feel in harmony with both or make no distinction!! Subjective indeed.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. “A statement of
    ownership. A statement of belonging.”
    . . .
    “. . . the meaning of freedom,
    the meaning of captivity. . . .”
    Perhaps some of us–you–speakthe language. But it is not enough.
    I felt I was on the beach you describe.


  3. Read with the sequence, this reads like a new love with the same old distance and loneliness. There is a point in life where we realize that we’ll always be alone, no matter who we’re with. But unified in other ways we didn’t expect.


    1. I think Rosemary’s first interpretation was the same too, based on the last few lines. When I wrote it it was in reference to the universe at large, continuining from the previous lines. But to your point to always being alone, yes, I think a part of us will be alone and is meant to be alone too. That is the void that we seek to fill – the journey. In a different way. Relationships are outside of that space I think, that place of self.


      1. A clarifying fix, for sure. Since so much of the series is about a lost love, “clinking glasses” sounded like something new. “As if” makes it relational but not personal. Traveling alone but not.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The swings between the moments of peace and the moments of conflict are what catch my eye. It would be wrong to call either of them an illusion. The reality is that there will always be an oscillation from one to the other. The universe will spin whether or not we make any headway in understanding it.


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