Sailor, Oh, Sailor!

After three summers, across the solid white quay, the red-haired sailor trudged through the ankle-deep shore back to me. Since his departure, a coastal war broke out. I was a boy when he left, but blood was now on my conscience. Over his shoulder, a ruck sack bulged. He knelt down to me and asked if I was the boy that would wait by the quay.

He brought the sack down to the sand to hand me the gifts he brought, while gunshots punctured the silence. War continued to carry on. The boom of a canon muscled through the air. A ball sped toward us, and it tore a hole right through his middle, leaving a gaping hole. Above us, the seagulls cawed out, as if they felt the sailor’s pain.

Then, seagulls dove down and flew in and out through the hole in his side.

He smiled, leaned in and kissed my cheek. “I give you these gifts. You may not remember, but you asked me to bring them back to you three summers ago.”

“But the hole,” I asked.

“No,” he said as he turned to walk away. “Now, I am complete.”

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