19 June 2012

Reflections in the Sea

The rail is slippery after the early mist but he doesn’t feel the dampness. He had come on deck at this godforsaken hour to see the sunrise, that beautiful, awe-inspiring spectacle that has greeted every day of the cruise. He leans on the rail and watches as the first glimmer lights the sky, waits until the orb itself is seen, gazes in wonder as the heavens are transformed. In two days time they will be in Norway, the place where she once lived. Good old days with memories he sought to recapture before it all went wrong.

Cruising had been their thing. Every year they sailed to exotic or interesting countries, capitols and resorts. It had taken her many years to persuade him to go abroad and in the end she won simply by saying she would go on her own. He couldn’t let her do that.

They flew that first time and a few more, until she became sick of flying and just a little scared after an eventful flight that was filled with turbulence. So after a battle of wits they decided to try out one of the big cruise liners. She was very good at winning the argument.

He recalled the hours they spent sunbathing by one or other of the pools. He would break the monotony by swimming but, of course, she couldn’t swim. Nor did she have any desire to learn; maintained she was terrified of the water.

There’s a sudden chill around his shoulders. He glances upwards, knows she is watching. He feels her presence. Shudders. She won’t stay long, she prefers night to morning. At night she is free to plague him, knows he cannot escape while he’s tethered in sleep.  In life she was a sexual explosion, by day a nagging fiend. She doesn’t change, even in death.

He wonders how long she will keep it up, how long she will tease and torment his ageing body, wishes she would materialise so that he could explain. Trouble is, she’s still a young woman, whilst his body is withering with age. Can’t she see that? Doesn’t she realise he can’t oblige her anymore? Oh he tried, by God he tried. He was worn out trying. He told the doctor when she was alive that she would be the death of him. It didn’t end when she died, she’s still like a woman possessed.

He thought a cruise to familiar places would calm her. Seeing the old haunts, places they’d explored, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Tonight, he will ask her why. It’s better to ask at night when the ship is quiet.
He lies on the right side of the double bed, facing the balcony window. The steward had drawn the curtains but that made him feel closed in so he opened them again. Outside the jet sky is littered with stars, none of which he knows. The rhythm of the ship is gentle making it almost impossible to realise they are sailing on sometimes treacherous seas with killer waves.

For the first time since he boarded she fails to put in an appearance but he tells himself the night is still young. He peers at the clock, works out the time by faintly illuminated fingers. Just turned midnight.

An hour passes. He rolls over, tugs the blanket round his shoulders, feels the draught on his neck, knows she has come. He hears the balcony door slide, the white plastic chair scraping on the floor. He turns to look in that direction. She is there, sitting, waiting, impatient fingers tapping on the table.  She swivels her head round, looks at him, her mouth twitches into a lopsided snarl, emitting callous vibes.

Anger rips through him, eats into him, drives away his good intentions. How dare she come to him in that mood. Isn’t it enough to haunt him without being malevolent as well. It’s about time she knew her place.

He thought he’d proved where her place was when he pushed her into the sea the last time. He slides out of bed; seems the crazy bitch needs another lesson.


  1. oo...nice twist...and you know i dont think ha has a choice at this point...and she will drive him bananas...

  2. OH. MY. GOD.

    That ending TOTALLY caught me off guard, Valerie!

    I love how this story started off one way, and then went down a completely different path.

    Excellent writing, dear lady!

    You have such an amazing talent for mixing various tones within one story.

    Have a terrific Tuesday!


  3. I think you're right, Brian. Bananas it will be.... grins.

  4. Thanks Ron, and it was such a short story, too. I must admit I like twisting things to fool my readers...grins.

  5. Oooh I wasn't expecting that twist at the end! Fabulous Valerie. :)

  6. Thanks, Pearl. The ending did come quickly, it even surprised me ... truly.

  7. Wow - I was drawn in again! You have such a unique way of writing!

  8. That was great.. love the unexpected ending.

  9. Wha??!! Man, that was a wild tale! Very nicely done :-)

  10. Oh.

    Naughty! LOL Yup..and surprised by the ending--totally.

    Well done.


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