My father disappeared, swallowed like a ship in the mist.
The Cape of Good Hope had claimed him.
Strange given he felt he had none.
I had to search for him - his shape barely there in Winter light. His silence his disguise.
He sunk into his chair by the porthole, staring out to sea. Watching her in her calm or agitated fury or deep unrest. She was his mirror but he was her servant. A slave to her moods, her bouts of violence - it was when she lashed our walls in rage that he could feel his heart in his chest. Fear would spark in his mind and pull him into alertness. She swept right through him and left him strung out to dry on the rocks. There he was exhausted, sullen and salt-crusted.
We shared breakfast on Sundays. Poached egg on toast, a cup of billy tea with brown sugar. I begged him to talk. I scraped my knife on the plate. Dropped yolk down my front. Slurped my tea. I knew better than to speak to him directly. It seemed I had asked too much of him too early and had worn him out. His words came months apart now. And I never knew in which direction they'd fly..
would it be the disappointment of a sharp order?
"Cut the light Ana"
(relief that he remembered my name)
or the knotted tales of seamanship?
"Walls of water blacking out the moon, the lurching, the heaving of our stomachs and the stench of it... we should have been snapped in half, pulled to the bottom. I don't know why she spared us."
Blurred snapshots. I never knew him, but I felt our blood - we shared that much. So surely I should be able to find my way to him? Scour the waves - listening for the rushing in his veins.
my father disappeared, swallowed like a ship in the mist.
He wasn't far at sea. He was here with me in the dead of Winter.
I didn't hear his footsteps echoing down the spiral. The last I knew he was keeping the light, scouring the bleak horizon as the storm clouds gathered over the rugged hem of the South.
He must have waited hours for the wind to lift, the waves to mount, all he needed to drown himself out. Mask his descent, the turning of his key in the latch, the wash and rain pouring in onto the flagstone. He would have timed his departure waiting for her recoil, arched to attack.
Slammed the door behind his back
Stepped out to the gap in the railings where our boat once docked.
Seconds before her tremendous force collected him
burst his iron lungs
and sent him spiraling in a seagreen blur.
He left me this lighthouse
and I still search for him in the night.
1 month ago