In the black, the sound of two oars clanking against the side of a small wooden boat. Drowning out the cacophony of the construction/growth/progress outside the window. Splashes upon entry. Again, the oars against the boat. Then splashing into the water. A steady rhythm. Measured, though filled with anticipation. The long haul.
The eye now habituated to the darkness begins to see: the nighttime journey of a small single boat over these infinite and moonless waters. The Voyager, a shadowy silhouette against the stormy sky, stands at the bow, peering into the distant.
Voyager: Maman. Kojayee?
Her voice, carries on the wind, travels through the darkness. She waits. Only the wind.
The Voyager’s voice splits into countless particles carried by the wind. It floats above the gaping mouth through which her mother had left her supple body in the early morning hours, under the watchful eye of the quiet nurse, while she and her sister closed their eyes for the first time in days. Later they were told that the dying often wait for their beloveds to leave before taking their last breath. A final act of love? More. When love turns to mercy.
The Voyager’s voice keeps traveling. Above the last time her mother opened her eyes and smiled, their last kiss, the times they said I love you when saying I’ll miss you was too unbearable. Above the colostomy bags, the white coats and the loneliness she felt watching her maman gaze silently, knowingly, at the mountains outside the hospital window. Preparing them both for the separation. For the longing. For the gap that would be filled and emptied for eternity.
The Voyager’s voice kept going. The hours spent together in the car to and from the place where they watched the slow drips of the medicine that gave them hope of being together for a few more months, then weeks and then days. The friendly nurses giving away smiles, Jesus Saves pamphlets and free hats outside the wig shop. Still her voice travelled. It travelled through the heart of their differences and bled them both dry of the poison of regrets, of misunderstandings, of disappointments. It travelled on the wings of I love you and I forgive you and immense compassion. In the songs they sang together, in the kitchen, while she still had the will to live. And the times that her touch was their only comfort.
And all the times they thought was going to be the last but it turned out not to be and then the times they didn’t know that turned out to be. The last time they had Indian food. The last time they watched a funny movie together. The last time they celebrated their birthdays. The last time they cleaned the garage, put out the garbage, chased the cricket around the living room and picked lilies from the garden. And the last time they sat by the sea. Holding each other’s hands so tightly. So much blue. So much beauty. So much warmth. Watching the Japanese tourists taking each other’s pictures against the Pacific. Click. Click. Click.
So much life.
Fade to white.