To the Sea, Once More || by Patrick Hayes


IT HAD BEEN HER idea to visit the sea one last time. They travelled in punishing silence, cocooned in grief. As she drove, he watched the world’s end slowly approach. Crude construction and the bustle of life slowly faded to empty rolling hills, before the once distant ocean revealed itself, unmasked by the perverted curtain of man.

Without words, they made their way to the calling sea as pilgrims of inward cause. They travelled until they met the cusp of land, where the sea threatened the dry stillness of earth. There they stood, unsure of what more to do. They took little notice of each other- him the dying man, her his dying wife.

Finding peace in their silence, she watched the soft lining waves caressing the naked shoreline. She watched their rhythmic performance, ignorant of their destructive powers. At moments, she felt the wind softly whispering forgotten secrets and stroking back her loose hair, as he had once before. And the salt. She tasted it vaguely, it’s complex being sprinkled in the fresh, present air. Her mind succumbed to bliss, the ocean harp calming her thoughts. In the ocean she found comfort. So many before had lived and died and so many more were destined to live and die. And yet, always the ocean remained. This same ocean that had watched generations past, would continue to watch in silence.

The dancing waves and singing wind had temporarily made her unaware of the man beside her. She turned slightly to watch him, to observe closely the dying spectacle. He seemed to watch beyond the waves, far beyond the horizon, toward something that extended past the beauty she saw. Before her she saw one final reminder of life—a world untouched. Before him stood a bathybic scape, devoid of beauty, that starred back eternally. It spoke nothing but lies, its blue skin oblivious to the plague of mortality. While the breeze enticed her, playing with her dying self and flirting with a return she could never fulfil, to him it whispered one final definite goodbye, grinning in its immortality.  

As she watched him, she longed for return. She longed to escape their mortal trap and belong only to the sea. She longed for death to be just an innocent worry, a question to be posed but never answered. She longed to be human once again. And above all, she longed once more to be loved, to break the crippling silence and share with this man, hers. Yet she dared not speak. Inside her she found only anger, for which she could not account. In the place she desperately searched for hope, she found only a makeshift darkness. So instead she cried.

There was something uniquely agonising about her tears, them falling so softly yet holding such grief, as if the ocean itself beckoned them forth. In the corner of his vision, he watched the tears pour down his love’s face, tracing her soft cheeks as he once did. He fought inwardly the urge to join her, to succumb to sadness and death and life and defy the blackness of his recent being. The moment attacked his self like the waves beating the coast along the headland, but his mind stood resilient.

Instead he screamed inwardly, once more ignoring the dying lady beside. Speaking out to the perennial blue, he silently declared everything he had ever hoped—everything he could never say. As she wept the ocean’s tears, he spoke back to the lashing waves and distant birds. He apologised and questioned and angrily yelled. He wished to turn to her and share in her grief, to be at their last moment as one. But within him stood no more- only the knowledge of end. So they remained constant for an endless moment, her screaming in tears and him screaming in silence. Only when the tide began to approach and welcome their leave did they surrender. As if rehearsed, they silently turned their backs to the sea together and began the slow return. 

Image Credit: ©You See A and I See B


PATRICK HAYES is an English and History student at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom.

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