Wednesday, 3 September 2014

FGC#9: Up Here

150 feet up. 150 feet closer to the heavens.

Up here the raised, coarse voices that grate and frustrate fade away, blown past by the wind, beaten down by the crash of the waves against the hull, fading into the squawk and natter of the gulls. Land is near.

Up here the roiling fire of anger in my belly is quelled, replaced by the nausea. So high up the roll of the ship, my ship, is greater. It ripples through my gut and presses at the back of my skull. That's what peppermint leaves are for. Crunch a handful, and mouth cools with the fresh and the tang, the cool chases itself down my throat and is welcomed by my tossing stomach. It soothes and settles, and peace can now seep through the rest of me.

Up here I'm closer to my ship. Pressed against the most slender end of the tallest mast I feel her pulse. It's not regular but it is. The wind gathered in her sails forces her forward, a wave hits her from one side and she groans, from another and she moans. I can hear her. I can feel her. She raised me, this hulk of wood, cork and canvas. She's the mother I never knew, and I know her better than anyone. I feel her unbalance. They've loaded her wrong. She lists to port but no-one else would know. Only I feel her pulling to right herself. It's such a small tug but it's there. No-one knows her like I do.

Up here is escape. She rocks me, soothes me, she listens to me curse the men below, and then gives me freedom. A length of rope connects us as I stand feet wide on the yard arm and lean as far forward as she'll allow me. Keep eye's forward and up and I can't see the rest of her; there's only water and sky and I'm flying. Breath deep enough and the salt cold air stings the back of my nose. Even up here the spray can get me, and the tang on my lips is deliciously sharp. Squint my eye's against the wind or tears blur my vision, my hair tugging at my head in its own freedom, sweeping behind me, whipping about my face. Let it fill me, let it hold me, let it take me away.

Up here I'm closer to heaven.
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This vignette was written in response to the Form and Genre Challenge 2012 #9: The Vignette Challenge.
Final word count: 404
To see the other submissions and vote for your favourite in the Reader's Poll go to the Write Anything website here.