She woke up in the middle of the night. Something was disturbing her sleep. She looked around. Sky was clear, two moons lighting up the sky. The sea was calm, an endless mirror reflecting a thousand stars. Her boat was perfectly still, waving smoothly with her own agitation. No sound breaking the void. Nothing to worry about. Not today. But still...
She leans back on the boat. Looks up and tries to remember, as if that would give her a hint. For what she can tell, things have always been this way. She's been on that boat, alone, for as long as she can recall. Not that it's a long track record, but at 10 years old now there's some unrest that piles up.
She thinks about tomorrow. The fish stock she holds in the back of the boat is getting low and she will have to spend a good amount of time fishing. Probably venturing out far from the boat. She can't help stressing out about this. What if one day I cannot find any more fish? It's a natural concern obviously. In the end she needs it to stay alive. But nonetheless a very unreasonable concern, there's only been like a dozen days she couldn't fish in her whole life. But yet she stresses out. Is this what troubles her in the middle of the still night?
She has had really tough days, that's for sure. She has weathered awful storms and feared for her life. She dreads those days with all her heart. Violent waves shaking the boat, thunders deafening her hears and lightning showing up an enraged sea. Helpless, she would hold tight in her little boat and hope and hope and hope the world doesn't end. But in those days, when all hope is lost, waves fade out, thunder moves away and the sea recovers the calmness. But the fear of these days, terrible as it was, didn't woke her up that night.
She has also had to fight monsters too. Those terrible creatures come up from the dark depths of the sea. They hit the boat violently. They splash the water around her, scaring her. And when they surface, they show their evil faces, looking at her with their evil red eyes, opening their big mouths full of sharp teeth. She would take one of those sticks in her boat and push them out, hit them as hard as she can. Those fights could take hours. Then, exhausted or bored, the monsters would look her in the eye, smile at her with their horrible teeth and disappear back to the depths, as if saying: I will get you, eventually. On those days she would collapse on the boat and sleep for hours in a mix of pride for the victory and of desperation from an ominous and undefeated threat. But sitting there in the middle of the bright night, she knew those monsters were not what troubled her.
She remembered then that disturbing experience, a few days ago. The day was sunny, the air was fresh and clean, the sea was beautiful. As always, she went out for a swim. Her mind wandered around different ideas she's been considering for some time then: how to capture some of the bigger fishes, what would their bigger spines allow her to do, whether she should arrange the fish differently to pile more of them just in case... She realized she had lost track of time, stopped all of a sudden and looked back to find her boat. It was not there. She looked all around but saw no trace of it. Her heart was pumping fast now, breathing heavily. Has she gone too far? How long has she been swimming? She had turned around so many times looking for the boat that she was uncertain now which way to go back. She aimed in one direction and swam, and swam, constantly gazing up to see if the boat was there. It was not. Did she took the wrong direction? Adjusted it slightly. Swam and swam for what seemed like a long time. Stopped again and looked around. Nothing. She started crying. The soothing waves and the soft sound of the sea suffocated her now. Impotence weighted her down. After surviving formidable threats, could the end come in such helpless way? Alone, in the middle of a calm sea, down the warmth of a sun that seemed to witness it all with total indifference. Why? She fought that thought and swam in desperation, hitting the water angrily, again and again and again. Suddenly, a familiar silhouette formed far in the horizon. Yes. It was her boat! She reached it finally, climbed to it and succumbed on the floor. The sound of her agitated breathing. The smell of the wood. The sound of the water hitting the walls of the boat. She gained perspective on her precarious condition in that very moment. That little piece of wood in the middle of an infinite ocean was keeping her alive. She crashed at the weight of that truth. That she was just a little drop holding precariously to life in a merciless indifferent world. A world that would just move on if she goes. She felt the biggest of fears, as a weight inside her chest, lying at the bottom of the boat. Then she fell asleep.
That was days ago, but that same weight in the chest was undoubtedly there, while she looked at the dark sky. However, a new thought was taking form in the silence of the night. Why does it have to be this way? If she needed a floating boat to hold and breathe, why is all the world and endless sea? Where does this boat come from, then? She's never seen a trace of anything like it in all her days. How come there is nothing else to hold, to sit tightly on? Or there is...? What if there is some place you can step firmly on? A place that you can walk around, not fearing to be drowned at every step. A place we may call land.
That question filled her heart, pushed out any other thought. Everything else seemed trivial now. Is there a land? Where is it? How can I find it?