Most mornings he watches a couple, a fair bit older than he, descend hand in hand the stone steps cut into the cliffside to swim lengths in the clear seawater of the natural swimming pool built into the rocks below. They rarely utter a word to each other, comfortable after years of companionship and at ease in the mutual understanding of their love. Even as they towel themselves off in silence after their plunge, there is a connection in the way they move around one another.
It is this intimacy that he aches for. Since the trauma of his wife’s premature death he has isolated himself as a way of coming to terms with his grief. This agony has eaten away at him, such that he has forgotten who he really is; his personal sense of meaning and worth; his direction and purpose. He has lived for years in a constant state of introversion, so torn up with anguish that he has lost contact with everyone he used to know. Unlike the boats that bob gently below, he feels untethered. Like a strong gust of wind could blow him away and nobody would realise. His lifelines have left him alone, afloat and lost at sea. Drifting.
Sitting cross-legged on his wife’s favourite bench atop the grassy cliffs, he stares towards the horizon where the grey sea meets the pinkie-blue of the early morning sky. This place magnifies his solitude. He fixes his gaze on the thumbnail moon hanging low above this vast expanse of nothingness. He, like the moon, was once whole but has been reduced to something almost unnoticeable.
He thinks that, like the moon, he will someday be whole again although he doesn’t yet know when or how. In this thought he finds solace and, with a deep sigh, heads towards home.