The sea was tranquil, there was no moon tonight. The waves spilled calmly on to the shore. The salty air was fresh and cleansing. The darkness was complete except for the blinking yellow lights that marked the circular reefs further down the sea. He sat down on the soft sand and it cushioned him immediately as a sort of welcoming to a friend long out of touch. At first he just hung his head down and listened to the sound of the waves, coming and going in perpetually, untiring. He envied its ubiquitousness. It was so natural. A process that was never ending. No matter the time, the age or circumstances. The sea dictated its will. Calm and eerie one moment. Violent and unforgiving the next. And men could do nothing but relent to its capricious behavior. It could be trialed under no laws. It could not be summoned by a higher power on this earth. It could not be reasoned with. It would surrender its bounties just as willingly and be the harbinger of wanton destruction the likes that have been cataloged since the dawn of time itself. It was a beautiful, terrible instrument of nature. To remind mankind of who was truly in charge of all its affairs. He finally looked up, mustered up enough courage to look the sea right in its eyes. Nothing greeting him but darkness, with intervals of white foam which highlighted the arrival of another wave. The effect was hypnotic, he felt himself inexorably drawn to this sight, the sea had captured his soul, like a cobra that sways in front of its prey, knowing that it can strike so easily at the time of its choosing. The air was still now, the balmy night lost its volume so suddenly as if to put the whole world in mute. He strained himself to hear the sounds of the waves but somehow they were in accord with the all engulfing stillness of this preternatural moment. It was then he heard the whispers, spoken in sepulchral tones. It carried on the inbound draft from the sea, the voices beckoned him, they were feminine but unlike anything he had ever heard before. Soothing and comforting. They called to him with the intimacies of a secret lover that knows too much. This world was not for him they said, it was a cruel place. It has nothing left to offer. It had abandoned him and the countless others before him that lived and died without a trace. That forever race that man was stuck in, to earn more, do more, buy more had taken its toll. But the sea asked for none of this, it only wanted to give. Peace and seclusion, tranquility and solitude. It made no demands of the real world. This man made hell that expanded far beyond its realms. The sea was the paradise that he so badly wanted. And it was not a promise restricted to Holy Scriptures. It was present and near. An allure too hard to resist. Slowly, as if in a trance like state he began to rise. It was clear to him. Nothing is more lucid in life than the end; it’s the beginnings that are always fraught with confusion. He took his shirt off and felt the slight cool breeze caress his skin. His eyes were focused completely towards the middle of the sea, a point far far away from shore. He felt no fear, only a sense of elation that takes over a man who has been bound in shackles too long and is finally only one gate away from freedom. He peeled of the rest of his clothing not even bothering to secure the worldly possessions in his pockets; he would not need them anymore.
About the Author
Rizwan Saleem is a Banker based in Dubai UAE. The thoughts and expressions detailed in his works are of his various escapades suffered through life, and of the profound surprise of having survived long enough to pen them into words. His poems have appeared in anthologies Twenty Seven Signs by Lady Chaos Press and Self Portrait Poetry Collection by Silver Birch Press.