A young sailor once told me the sea was his therapy.

The waves rock me to sleep like a baby, he said.

It’s so peaceful at night, he said.

I go out every weekend, he said.

Except last weekend, you liar. Because the sea swallowed you up the Saturday prior.

The sea never soothes you like therapy does, but it does coax you into its embrace so it can drag you down to its depths and use your body to feed its creations. It’s alluring. Addictive. Like a drug. An organic hallucinogen.

You see many things on the seas that you can never quite explain. I think that’s my favorite part of it.

One night of the many I spent adrift on my small sailboat, I felt the sea lulling into a peaceful sleep. My eyelids tugged down as my eyes fixed on the horizon. Always keep your eyes on the horizon.

That is, if you want to live.

My body felt safe in the sea’s rhythm and for just a second, my mind drifted from the dangers it hid from me. But in the next one, I snapped back as a group of jagged rocks approached—fast.

There were five stony pillars total, each with steep cliffs with a shallow ring surrounding them. The waves licked the shallow ring as it just barely balanced on the barrier between sea and land. A careful cross section to consider.

Resting on one of the rings was a shady silhouette I couldn’t quite make out in the thickening salty fog that hung in the air like a sour after thought of the sea. But, as I got closer, I almost could.

It was long, flat, and low to the ground, as if it wasn’t sure it wanted to leave the sea behind yet. Curves marked its outline, dipping especially low in the middle and one of the ends. The skinny end flopped in the ground, occasionally flicking into the air like a dolphin’s tail.

The fog was the sea’s weighted blanket, out weighing my worries so I could drift off to see. Without sunlight, my senses dulled and my breathing slowed. Even the shock of discovering what the shadow was couldn’t jolt me fully awake.

There, sitting on the foggy banks of the jagged cliffs, was a scaly green woman with a bleeding legs still tangled in man’s plastics. Knots and tiny pieces of seashells monopolized her unruly brown locks. A thin layer of pale green coated the skin on the upper portion of her torso. In lieu of dirt, sand was trapped underneath her nails. Every detail of her was crystal clear,  too powerful to be an illusion. That’s what I told myself as I studied her.

She spotted me, too. Desperate, she waved me over as my boat bobbed in the water beside her. I hopped on the land. The fog held me back as I tried to find my way over to her, but it was like she had dissolved into the mist. Not a drop of salty blood left behind.

Disappointed, but not surprised, I stumbled back towards my ship and sailed away. I was used to these kinds of mistakes, these side effects. Out on the unpredictable sea, you never know where the line between truth and fiction is.

Actually, you do know where it is. It’s somewhere onshore.

Time has no place on the sea. It marks the passage of existance, but on the sea, you forget you exist as your body melts into the ever-haunting fog. You’re only reminded that the concept of time even exists when you see the sun setting blow the horizon—or is it rising on the other side.

I basked in the silky touch of the low sun as its orange hues coat me like a warm layer of paint. The waves were tinted, too. They folded into each other, crashing their gentle green-blue with an illuminating yellow-orange. The color drew me in as I first stared at my shifting image. Then, I focused on something beneath the waves. Could be anything.

A spherical head popped up from where my reflection’s face once was. It’s beaming at me, flashing pointing yellow teeth. The male siren flicked up his tail as a hello. With webbed hands, he reached up at me. His smile beckoned for me to take his hands and let him pull me under the waves below. Join the crystal prism of color. Join the cruel prison of waves.

And I tried. This siren doesn’t even have to sing for me to want to be with him. Away from the arid world and into the illusions. Precariously, I bend other the edge of my boat and each for him. Pull me under. Drown me with his cold, wet, unloving kisses.

But we’re too far apart and he gave up before I can touch his scaly skin. He pressed one webbed hand on the boat—it soaked with the color of the sea and the sun all at once. Then he left it. A handprint bleeding with yellow and blue against th side of my ship as a permanent reminder to our chance encounter even though I knew the waves would wash it away before the morning touched me.

Or the night.

Only if the sun was setting or rising.

There’s monsters out on the sea. Or so you think at times. Those times when you dare to trust your eyes, when dare to believe you’re truly awake and not overdosed on your love of the sea.

Myths surround these monsters. Like a thick haze of misconceptions blind what the truth could be. Where the giant Kraken might lurk. Or a giant jellyfish.

Anything can become a monster if you hate it enough.

I’ve seen the giant jellyfish before; it's common for me. I can’t speak for others though.

I once told an old fisherman what I saw. One day, I looked at him as his fingers danced with a knotted net and asked him, “have you seen it?”

“The monster alligator? Aye. She follows my boat when the sun kisses the sea.”

I gave him a one word affirming reply and left without telling him that alligators are freshwater animals.

There were other accounts of seeing giant animals, monsters. There’s always others.

Never the same animal, not once, but each stranger goes to great measures to describe the creature as if the very image of it was forever implanted in their mind. One guy got a giant seahorse tattooed on his upper arm and then his mama slapped him for getting a tattoo. I haven’t seen him in a while.

Every time I hear someone bring up any other tale of the giant creatures, or I hear a story about the tails of giant creatures, there’s always that one guy in the background. 

“Kill it,” he whispered, for he does not understand it and thus it can’t exist.

Because anything becomes a monster if you hate it enough.

Depending on the crowd, the whispers can grow into a vicious chant.





And who doesn’t want to be a hero? So they go out to sea once again—and a storm swallowed them this time.

I pity these people, because these people are the fools who have never been at sea. Those who never understand it.

Out on the sea, you can’t be a hero no matter how many monsters you slay. Being a hero require someone to praise your every actions and you’re alone here on the sea. But you aren’t lonely.

This watery world is built off the illusions of the infamous hallucigen many refer to as the sea. It is built off the dreams of the sailors it drowns. Their dreams of damsels in distress and mermaids and being the sea worthy hero and everything that can only come to life in the sea.

Land maybe be safe but you never wanted its dry comfort.

And it seduces you. Makes you believe it could be real. It seduces you with its illusions—if that’s even want they are.

And you love every second of it.

February 27, 2020 16:24

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