Journey to the Edge of Night
R. L. Huber
back in time almost seventy years when the Coast Guard patrolled offshore in
four stack destroyers, long before motorized lifeboats, radar, and rapid
communications. This macabre tale of an eighteen year old seaman on the USCGD
(U.S. Coast Guard Destroyer) HERNDON
describes a seven hour rescue made from a lifeboat pulled by oars in a
dark and stormy sea.
We are the lifeboat crew. Out of the dark and storm we come, from the heroic
past, another world, another time. Like the meteorite’s brief trail, the
ragged, twisted wake of our passage tells its story. Written on the water a
writing known to only us and to God; we write it but only He understands what we
are saying, only He understands the words, and what they mean.
monster sea comes hurtling out of the raging dark in roaring, crashing
thunder—the lifeboat reels to the shock, the oar handle slams into my ribs,
wind-whipped spray drives into my face and stings my eyes. We have lost all
control of the boat, slewing sideward down an avalanche of water towards the
abyss that will be our grave if we don’t regain control in seconds.
roar of billions of tons of water gone mad is stupendous, mind-staggering,
overwhelming; we are ants in the heart of a bursting bomb. But in this moment of
stark terror we are fighting for survival. Desperately, we on the starboard oars
pull for all we’re worth, while port holds fast, digging in. McEacheron,
cursing like a madman, hurls everything he has against the steering oar. The
boat turns, straightens out. The lifeboat smashes head-on into the onrushing
seas, in a cascade of spray and glittering ice, ghost-white against the
blackness of the night.
we’ve made it. Once again Death has reached for us, and again we’ve turned
him back. Savaged, storm-beaten and stunned in this inconceivable fury of wind
and water, we are coming on; we will not, we cannot give up—we have to
about us the roaring seas are racing by at fantastic speed. They are rolling
endlessly onward toward a nightmare shore where Death was born and Faith lies
drowning. But Faith dies hard and we too, have a rendezvous to keep before we
reach the ultimate shore.
is wintertime, in the early 1930’s. We are 300 miles off the coast of New
England, battling a northeast gale. We are nine lumps of half-frozen meat,
rowing blindly, stupid with cold and fatigue. Somewhere in the raving night
ahead a ship is foundering, men are injured, maybe dying. We have heard their
cry for help across the desolation between, we know their desperate need, and we
must find them before that tiny voice is stilled forever.
that end, we have bet everything we own—our beat-up, bargain-basement
lives—that we can win this grim gamble against the odds for the greater stakes
known to Man; we have nothing else to give.
although we are dirt-poor in possessions, we have our pride for we are heirs to
one of the world’s great traditions; the almost impossible feats and the
rugged endurance of the lifeboat men are famous among seamen the world over. Nor
is this idle boasting; it is a matter of record.
yet, we are an anachronism. Steam and steel and the internal combustion engine
have been in use for decades, but our lifeboat is built of wood, little
different from boats of 5,000 years ago, and powered by men, just as they were.
our day is dying, nearly over, but we do not know it. The onrushing years will
bring radar, television, helicopters, walky-talkies, powered lifeboats, scuba
gear and far better clothing—and more. We make do with what we have. Now, in
the 1930’s we are the last real link remaining to the days of wooden ships and
iron men; and I often wish they hadn’t told me that. For our tradition is too
hard to live up to and too easy to die for. Tradition does not keep you warm and
dry in a gale like this.
wind here has a thousand voices. It screams, wails, whispers, laughs
hysterically, sings to us, sobs like a child, lost and abandoned in the dark.
And underlying it all is a sad, deep moaning, as though all the wounded men who
ever fell on all the fields of battle are lying out there suffering, somewhere
beyond our vision. It is a sound almost too terrible to bear; it is the mighty
voice of the storm, but I cannot understand the words.
this staggering, thundering chaos of great seas, racing out of eternity, coming
on forever, I remember other times out here, times that help to make our barren
lives worth living. I remember quiet waters, the sea like a mirror; the
diamond-white fire of the mighty icebergs in the searchlight’s glow, riding
down a path of tarnished gold, straight into the mighty face of the moon,
balanced there on the horizon; the cold glory of the Northern Lights; the
countless stars silvering us in a haze of light; the quick-silver tracing of
meteorites writing their brief histories in starry space, and all of these
witness to the great glory of God, who made them long ago and placed them there
so that men might know beauty. The wonders and the awe and the mystery of it all
lives in me still.
such nights we row quietly, listening for something sacred and secret that
surely dwells out here in the enormity of night, beneath the vault of Heaven and
the magic of enigmatic stars. God of our fathers, never stop dreaming, lest all
this beauty vanish from our sight forever.
beauty belongs to yesterday, and now we’re concerned with staying alive. We
are face to face with the Master of it all, asking for the right to pass, and it
is His decision. The wind from the far-off ice-cap of Greenland is singing a
song we know; it is a song of death, but still I can hear McEacheron’s fine,
Irish tenor, faint as a cry from another world, yet somehow carrying above this
insanity of wind and wave, chanting the cadence—counting chant of the lifeboat
men, putting some humor into it, trying to cheer us up.
we pull. Ice freezes on my gloves, on my weary arms, breaks and hurtles away in
the storm. Ice freezes on my eyebrows, stinging with salt. But still I can see
our ship’s searchlight, a very ghost of a light. It is our only hope, our last
link to life; it holds all of our hopes, our memories, and our dreams. I dare
not close my eyes for fear that, when I open them, the ship may not be there.
if she goes down and leaves us here alone, lost forever in this lonely sea, to
row on and on forever, into Eternity? How
many men like us have vanished into Mystery? They are the numberless dead who
thought to beat the pitiless sea.
eighteen, my fear is measureless; yet I am proud to be here, with these men, who
are a living legend of the sea; proud that they thought me enough a man to take
along on this fearful journey to the Edge of Night, although as yet I have no
conception of what awaits us there, or even that it exists. But before this long
night is over I have a lot to learn, if I only knew. Now I only know that,
whether I live or die, I will have spent this night in great company, in an
experience known to few living men. For it is a truly awesome, fearful and
humbling experience. It comes upon you as a revelation of the sadness. The
loneliness and the stark terror underlying much of life itself, and suddenly
you’re older, something deep within you dies out there in that bitter
loneliness of sea and sky.
that bitter loneliness a man is singing a wild Gaelic song, high and full of a
terrible beauty, in the wild night. It is McEacheron’s defiance of the storm;
his way of telling us that we’ll make it yet, if we only endure. He’s lost
his hat; his red hair burns like a torch against the monster seas hurtling
endlessly out of forever, to race by and vanish into darkness. He steers us down
the incredible slopes into black, foreboding canyons, through the valleys of
death, across smoking summits of sea, through the lonely places of the mind, the
lost, forsaken desolation brooding in the darkness of our souls.
is McEacheron, coxswain of the lifeboat, a wild, fiery Irishman from
Massachusetts—and he is a man. He would assault the impregnable walls of hell
with his bare hands, singing, and he’s doing it now. “PULL,” he yells,
“PULL,” and we pull, onward toward the Edge of Night, but we do not know it,
and it’s well we don’t.
have a passenger. Somewhere behind us we found a body in the water, an East
Indian from his appearance, although not much of his face remains—it was badly
slashed by the oar blades. But we’ve stowed him under the thwarts and we’re
going on. Our progress is agonizingly slow, we seem to be barely moving, the
unending fight against the odds is taking its toll. And I’m learning something
here—the battle is fought on two different levels; against the elements
themselves, and in the darkness of our souls, against that part of us that makes
is a though the elements are trying to drive us back across the ages, to beat us
into blind, unreasoning helplessness, to destroy our humanity, and to force us
to surrender to the animal within. And we cannot allow this to happen, for this
is the real hell existing here on earth. A man can be bludgeoned into
surrendering his soul.
lifeboat creeps on, every tiny gain is at the cost of frightful effort. I am
beginning to wonder if I’ll make it, and this, too, worries me. If I collapse,
if I fall apart, what will the others think of me? A man is a man or he isn’t,
and I’m wondering which I am. Fear is the enemy. We may never win the final
victory over the remorseless enemy, but we must keep trying.
hell of it is, if the mission had gone according to plan, it would have been
over and done with hours ago. But it began with a foul-up, a case of mistaken
identity. The foul-up began when the ship’s lookouts reported what appeared to
be wreckage floating in the sea. In the belief that this was probably wreckage
from the fishing boat in trouble we launched the lifeboat. Any launch from the
deck of a destroyer is successful if someone doesn’t get hurt, but it was
premature. The wind and sea seemed to show signs of moderating and the risk of
launching was one we were willing to take. Of course, we’re wearing life
jackets, if you can call them that. Mine is stenciled as having been made in
1902. Dressed in these oilskins, sea boots, sweaters and heavy woolens, we would
sink like stones. And a man can only live a few minutes in these freezing
long, hard pull to the wreckage in question, and an intensive investigation,
told us that it could not have come from the fishing boat; it’s too large for
that. This is something else and it creates a problem—because it cannot be
allowed to float into the heavily traveled sea-lanes further south, it will have
to be destroyed as a menace to navigation. But that’s a problem for the
destroyer. Our problem is the distressed fishing boat, if it’s still afloat.
The destroyer lost radio contact with them some time ago and we don’t actually
know where they are, although it should be in this general area.
information as we’ve gained we passed on to the destroyer by blinker; there in
no other way of communicating between us. Suddenly there’s the thudding crump
of a cannon. Long seconds later a light grows and blossoms far away to the
southwest . . . a star shell! Moments later the searchlight swings wildly, then
points steadily outward. They think they’ve seen something, and the
searchlight gives us the new direction. As we turn, the destroyer’s blinker
sends a last signal: “GOOD SAILING, AND GOOD LUCK, TO ALL OF YOU—UNTIL WE
we turned away and started on our long, lonely journey, and with the passage of
time the wind and sea built up again, and it grew colder. This was hours ago,
how long I do not know; time has lost all meaning. I cannot feel my hands or
feet but I am still rowing, if automatically.
in the timeless dark, in the wildness of the night, I hear a voice screaming
over the roar of the wind, “WE’RE THERE, WE MADE IT, WE’RE THERE!”
It’s McEacheron on the voice trumpet. Stiffly, I turn my head and yes, we are
there, wherever that is. The ship’s light has long since gone. We are a speck,
a mote, far, far out on an ocean we only dimly see but ominously sense by its
violence; so black is the night that one might believe in the death of light.
But, we are there, we’ve reached our destination, and what worries me is the
knowledge that we are also very, very near the limits of human endurance; the
issue is in doubt.
perhaps a hundred yards away, trailing her ragged banners of spume-like smoke,
the ice-crusted fishing boat glimmers far down a vast slant of sea. McEacheron
fires a flare which bursts high up in the storm-wrack, bathing this weird,
surrealistic seascape in a strange and unforgettable light. In our armor of ice,
in the eerie light of the flare, wind-driven spray makes us creatures of fire
and ice, trailing long streamers of glowing, ghastly, unearthly fire, being of
frozen flame, angels or devils, here at the end of the world.
this is the end of the world. We are beyond all communication,
beyond the reach of every other human being on earth; of the billions of people
on this planet not one can help us now. Realizing this, we would be less than
human if we did not know the gut-twisting fear of force and events too great for
us. We are as alone as nine men in a spaceship, lost somewhere among the stars.
We are rough men, we have to be, but we are lonely and afraid, but we will do
our job, if we can. We are not heroes—we are only men. And yet we are more
than what we seem. We are here not for glory, or money, or just because we are
sailors. We are here in the name of humanity, all of it; and so, in a sense, we
are not alone. We are not important; the important thing is what we
stand for. We are Mankind’s challenge to Eternity, we are here to state the
case for Man; and we are saying that nothing, nothing on earth or under heaven,
can break the indomitable spirit of man.
we are not heroes, but there is no one else, we are all there is. At this moment
in space and time, we are on the front line of Humanity, we are the front
line, we are the very best that mankind can put forward her—because we are
all there is.
the trumpet, McEacheron hails her. The over-strained muscles of my back and
a-tremble with weariness, with pain close to agony, my hands in their ragged
gloves are frozen to the oar. The wind in the fishing boat’s smashed rigging
is a dirge, low and terrible and full of a nameless sorrow. I know that this may
be the most awesome scene I will ever witness, and I hear that lonely
voice calling, calling in this black immensity, this black nothing from a time
before the stars were born. “Is anyone there?”
answer. We skid down a vast slope of sea, ride upward at breath-taking speed.
Again McEacheron fires the flare gun crawling with strange shadows, shadows that
seem alive. Then the flare burns out. In two desperate, all-out efforts we have
managed to put a man aboard to find out if there’s anyone alive, somewhere in
the wreckage. But now we’re worse off than before: Our man has either fainted
from exhaustion or he’s fallen and injured himself. We cannot see him; the
hurricane lamp he carried has fallen into the sea. It fell like a falling star;
I saw it glimmer far down in the water as it sank to the bottom, miles down. The
pounding on my straining heart roars in my ears like the roar of the storm
itself, but through the agony and the fear that fills me I know we have to try
can we? The endless hours have taken so much from us. Do we have enough left?
McEacheron gives us the answer: he’s
yelling, screaming, begging us on the voice trumpet, “We can’t let him die
there! We can’t! Take me there and I’ll get him! Move, goddamn you, MOVE.”
And because he’s McEacheron, and because he’s the only one now with the
strength to do it, we’ll try again although now we’re one man short at the
oars. “PULL,” he yells, “PULL,” and we’re moving again toward the
wreck; it’s now or never.
getting close now. The wind in the wreckage makes a high humming, vicious sound
like all the angry hornets in existence are concentrated here; it is full of
threat, pregnant with warning. The wind and the thunder of seas smashing the
wreckage is deafening; we’re very close. Too close. Suddenly the wreck looms
directly above us like a cliff of ice; we’re going to hit.
is a rumbling, jarring crash audible above the storm, ice rains down on us in
shards and chunks, a large piece hurtles down, and suddenly the whole miserable
world is gone, and this freezing hell with it. I’m lying in the bottom of the
boat; something is nudging me, it’s our passenger the dead man; he’s slipped
his moorings and is prowling around in the half-drowned boat.
are lying everywhere, all but covered with fallen ice, but we’re still afloat;
we must have struck her a glancing blow. There is a taste of blood in my mouth
and of the salt water I’ve swallowed. I get to my knees, retching; McEacheron,
his red hair a helmet of ice, is yelling at me.
BAIL, GODDAMN IT. Get the water out quick or we’re going down! Do you want to
see what’s down there?”
S.O.B. I can hardly hold the canvas bucket, I’m as weak as a feeble old man,
and my hands are numb but I try, and others, now, are bailing too. My head feels
like a balloon, from the blow that knocked me out, I’m like a man in a trance,
but I have just enough sense left to understand that the attempt to rescue our
man has failed. Three times we’ve approached the wreck, and that we haven’t
gone to the bottom is a miracle.
of the others seem to be unconscious; those who can are attempting to haul them
out of the water while still others bail, but our combined efforts are pitiful.
This last failure was the last straw; we have broken down at last.”
and beaten, near blind with pain, goaded and driven beyond the limits of human
endurance, almost paralyzed with utter exhaustion, we are out of our minds from
grueling toil, from terror too long sustained. We know now that we cannot escape
this nightmare that will not end. Out of his despair and his pain and his
terror, the man upwind of me is vomiting again, vomiting endlessly, endlessly,
and it’s freezing all over me, and I want to kill him but I haven’t the
have been beaten into submission, into all but mindless helplessness; we have
been whipped and driven and beaten back, back from everything that made us
human, back across the ages to the point where nothing is left of us, nothing
but the animal within. Now, slumped over these oars that are too much for us, we
can only wait for Death, and He is on the way.
now, we are on that thin, bleeding line where death is preferable to life.
now, we have been driven back as far as men go, and still remain human; our
backs are to the Final Wall.
help us, we are there, we are there. We have reached the Edge of Night.
the scheme of things, it may come to pass that I live to be old—very old—and
it may be that one day death will seem preferable to life, and life no longer
worth living, and I’ll turn my face to the wall and throw in my hand forever.
Before the cards fall, in that last split second, I may recognize this place,
and remember a boy of eighteen who was here long ago. And, wonder of wonders,
hear again the howling of the wind, the surging roar of great seas, hurtling out
of eternity, and a far off cresting monster sea, the glimmer of a lifeboat and
its crew, storm-battered and sheathed with ice but coming on, coming on forever
as we did when I was here before, coming for one of their own.
may come to pass that we will keep a rendezvous again in great company here at
the edge of night.
was McEacheron who saved us at the Edge. I found myself at my usual position on
the starboard side. A great voice is shouting, it’s the loudest I’ve ever
heard, and I said to myself that I’M DEAD, and that this is surely the mighty
voice of God. The voice is cursing us, saying that we’re yellow, not fit to
live—we don’t deserve it, and a lot worse. It isn’t God; it’s McEacheron,
saying that he doesn’t mind dying but that he doesn’t want to drown in the
same ocean with the rest of us cowardly bastards. “I asked for men and
they sent me women. Girls. Where the hell do you think you are—in the Navy?”
last hurts, really hurts, it gets through. There’s ill feeling between the
Navy and the Coast Guard since the Navy Sub#4 was rammed and sunk by our
destroyer Paulding with the loss of all hands. It was an accident, of
course, but many Navy men still make an issue of it at every opportunity.
are glaring at McEacheron, he’s got our attention now, the Mick S.O.B. and he
knows it. “ . . . so if you want to die, okay, but let’s do it together; we
are still one man short. He’s there, on that goddamn wreck. Now, let’s go
get him first, then die, if you want it that way.”
he puts on his military manner; his voice cracks like a whip, “Man the oars.
Stand by to give way. Now, give way together!” Then he throws back his head
and gives it all he has, and it sounds high above the grinding, howling roar of
the gale. “Away, Away the lifeboat.”
we’re doing it like they used to, in the beginning, when the old-timers made
and gave us our tradition; we’re living up to our heroic past, although
we’re far from being heroes. And I feel, now, that we’re going to make it.
And it’s the goddamndest thing I’ve ever seen, that I ever will see. We
drive the lifeboat straight on, through the raging seas until McEacheron yells,
let’s go of the steering oar, grabs the boarding ladder and swarms up to the
fishing boat’s reeling deck even as we bash into her again in a rain of
falling ice. I let go the oar and try to fend off with my hands. McEacheron, in
an impossible feat of strength for so slender a man, picks up our man bodily and
dumps him into the life boat.
glow of his hurricane lamp glimmers here and there on the wreck. At last he
reappears by the boarding ladder and waves us in. This time we don’t strike;
we’re just a fraction short. McEacheron’s hanging on the end of the boarding
ladder, dangling, there, and we have to get him. I drop my oar to help the
Seaman on the steering oar; together we hurl her stern around. As the stern
swings a Seaman stands up and reaches far out, yanks McEacheron off the boarding
ladder. Both fall, McEacheron head and shoulders in the sea, but we haul him out
of the water, he’s knocked out but hell, he’ll be all right. How can
you kill a man like that? Crazy Mick bastard.
shearing away, the gap is widening, we’re pulling away, bailing again, and
keeping her into the seas as best we can. Suddenly I realize that I can see the
others plainly. It’s dawn—the long dark is over. Lord, Lord, what happened
to the night? Gone, too, is despair and hopelessness; they are behind us where
they belong, back there at the terrible Edge I’ll never know again until the
day I die. And I’m willing to wait.
homeward bound, and the lifeboat has grown wings. Word has passed that our man
is conscious, now, and pulling his share of the load, and we can’t wait to get
back to our beloved liverwurst and baloney, back to the human race again.
the world blanks out. We’re running through a blinding snowstorm; we’re a
tiny, dim world all our own in the feeble light of the hurricane lamp hanging
form McEacheron’s shoulder. And then it happens—McEacheron is singing,
singing a song we all know, and I join in, and then all of us, we’re all
singing, and to me it is haunting and sad and beautiful in all this wild
long, long trail a winding,
Into the land of
nightingales are singing,
And the white moon
There’s a long,
long night a-waiting.”
In the day when
I’ll be going down
The long, long
trail with you.”
myself smiling, a stiff, frozen smile close to tears. I know that wild Irish
bastard is telling us to forgive and forget, and it’s the least we can do for
him. The song dies away in a great howl of wind, and the roaring surging of the
sea, and somehow we all feel better.
exhilaration, the flame within us that carried us to the Edge still burns—but
it’s dying. Something is wrong—wrong! Suddenly, in one blinding moment, I
realize what this night has cost me, I know the price I’ve paid. I’ve aged
the best part of a lifetime in a single night. Somehow, far out there on the
measureless sea I lost my youth, somewhere I crossed a boundary, never knowing
it was there.
that I could one day search the sea to find the place where I lost my youth in a
matter of hours, and there turn back the faded page of time to when I was a boy,
and still believed in the dreams I dreamed. And in the future, when I know
despair, I’ll remember that once I rallied at the Edge and I’ll do my
goddamndest to do it again; a man of courage, a man who knows himself and
believes in himself cannot be defeated. Life, the swift passage of the years,
can break my flimsy bones, bend my back and shatter me, but it cannot defeat me,
nor can any other power on Earth or Heaven or Hell, because I’ve been there.
And, in spite of it all, I will always be an idealist event though you don’t
get paid for idealism—you pay them. The bright flame is gone; we are
exhausted men, somehow enduring the unendurable.
is the destroyer? We do not know it, but the men aboard her have spent a busy,
sleepless night. The steering engine broke down and they had a hell of a time
steering manually. On top of that, the old “can” sprang a leak, so they,
too, have spent a miserable of a night. Battered and weary as they are, men have
spent endless hours straining, hoping to see the lifeboat come out of the storm,
from out of that special hell that belongs to us alone. And we, in that special
hell, are famished for the sight of other humans, starved for just the sight and
the sound of them; we have been so alone that we are afraid that other people no
we emerge from the snowstorm, to iron-gray skies and the lead-gray sea. And as
we crest a great sea I see a star, shining far away, it’s the destroyer’s
searchlight—they’ve left it on to guide us home. Coming from hell, I know
that heaven exists, that’s it real, because I see it shining there; it is that
grim, gray, old destroyer, reeling in the seas, but heaven never the less.
lord, to get this nightmare over with, to drink a hot drink, to strap myself
into my bunk and sleep forever. To be alive, to walk the streets again, in the
unbelievable world where people can see other people, watch cars go by, drink a
beer in speakeasy (this is 1932-33).
always, in the years to come I will walk strange streets in strange towns,
searching for what I do not know, that part of me I lost out there on the lonely
sea, and never found again. And this, too, is a part of the price I’ve paid.
waves a hand to us, he is smiling a frozen smile. Then he puts our stern hard
over and we can see that we’re approaching the destroyer’s bow. He picks up
the voice trumpet and yells above the storm, ”Ahoy! Would you have room for a
bridge answers, “Lay aboard, tourists. And welcome home!”
of wonders, McEacheron, that tough Irishman, proceeds to become emotional. He
bows his ice-crusted redhead and cries like a child. Only then I remember that
he has a red-haired wife, also Irish, and a lot of kids to take care of. Only
then do I remember that he wears that ragged old sheepskin coat for luck, he
says, although we all know that he can’t afford to buy a new one; he feels
that his kids need coats more than he does, and so McEacheron, that brave man,
wonder if his children will ever know what kind of a man he was, really was.
But, of course, they can’t it’s not possible. In order to know McEacheron
you have to be able to remember him as I do, in that ragged old coat, shivering
with cold, his red hair burning against the monstrous black seas, and singing,
and this is how he was and what he was—and that’s how I remember McEacheron.
here’s to you and to all men who wear their guts on the outside, and here’s
to that special hell that belongs to you and me and all of us who manned the
oars when it was for real. I say to you, from my special hell to yours, “PULL,
PULL, you Mick bastard, PULL.” and I want to hear your spine crack when you
do. Just like mine did.
from me to you, miles and years away, until we meet again at the Edge, if we
crew has hung the aft rail with mats and fenders and rigged a sling to lift us
aboard; they know we haven’t the strength to get aboard on our own. And
they’ve dumped oil to smooth the pounding seas. Finally, close aboard, a
Seaman awaits the right moment and leaps into the lifeboat. He throws a line
around me and they haul me up and out of the lifeboat. I bounce off a collision
mat, and then I’m on the deck. Two men hustle me down the reeling deck to the
ship’s galley, where I can thaw out and get a hot cup of coffee and a
long ordeal is over. I’m sitting on the metal deck in the galley, plastered
with frozen vomit, shaking uncontrollably, trying to hold a cup of coffee in
bloody, half frozen hands. It’s comparatively warm in here, and much quieter,
but raging winds are still howling somewhere in my mind, monster seas roll
endlessly out of Forever and vanish into darkness somewhere behind my eyes.
have spent some seven hours in the lifeboat. The coffee has a reassuring,
familiar smell, but my frozen nose cannot smell it. I want this coffee badly
that the wanting is intense, a kind of agony, but I never get to taste it. There
is a great darkness rushing down upon me, I desperately try to hold on. A last,
strange thought comes spinning blindly out of the rolling thunder of great seas,
sledging at the breakwaters of my mind, surging on forever, world without end,
“Someday I really ought to learn to swim.”
the cup falls from my hands and I’m asleep.