It was the turn for the Man with Glasses to lookout. Weak and bony limbed, he raises his branch like arm in slow motion. A finger that seems as long as his arm points to his discovery, an unidentified floating object.
“You see that?” he asks carefully, his mouth as dry as the dust he inhales, his words sound broken, like a faulty hi-fi speaker.
The Boy throws his eyebrows down over his eyes. He directs his expression towards the Man with Glasses. “Don’t be weird, it’s cruel.” Why did this happen to us?” the Boy asks.
Sitting down and looking away, the Woman looks is a bored student, “You better be right about this, I don’t know if I can take too much more, neither the boy.”
Angered by their dismissive attitude, the Man with Glasses looks at them, and with his enlarged eyes says, “Do you really think I have the energy, the need to joke about it? You can at least, do me a favour and look with me, help my eyes? I’ve been staring so long I don’t know if this is real or if it’s a trick of my mind.”
The Woman stands alongside the Man with Glasses, her eyes now follow his long skeletal finger out to sea. In rising hope and unbearable anticipation, she wants to see something, anything that resembles an Island and with the purest of joy scream Oh yes! Yes, I see it, I see it! But alas she cannot see anything to expel these words.
The Man with Glasses doesn’t need words for her answer; the contorted expression and the wrinkles that appear like trenches on her face say it all. He looks once more and feels a growing sense of excitement, “You must see that? Look carefully… Over there, do you see?” For a moment the image dies, then appears, “Now! Can you see it?” In a sound that of a man scared for his own mental state, more than what he actually believes he can see.
The Woman says, “Yeah I see it!” in mock jest, “but then, I see well. Good even, but at the same time…Nothing at all!”
Growing increasingly frustrated, the Man with Glasses calls the Boy over to where they stand. He bends down and whispers in his ear, “Can you see anything, anything at all? Please say you can?”
“Yeah”, the Boy whispers loudly in his reply, “I can see the sea, and the clouds and I forgot to tell you, I can’t swim!”
Feeling a little delirious the Woman can’t control her short hyena fit of laughter; it doesn’t last long though the woman is already well on her emotional slide her downer. “I can’t swim either.” She says.
“That’s just great!” Exasperated, the Man with Glasses is becomes tearful, his face soaks his tears up like a drought. Sitting down on the cold, drab, sand he ages as if any life he had just escapes him like air deflating a man shaped balloon.
“Don’t worry,” says the Boy, “it’s bound to happen. I’ve dreamt about this Island, I can see everything on it, mum, dad, there with me, but it is just a dream.”
Trying to lift spirits the Woman says “Look you two this coast is very long. We may just be looking out in all the wrong places.” After a long pause, she questions the man, “What exactly did you see anyway?”
“I saw what I wanted to see I guess. Maybe I do believe in it, more than you, that’s why you both failed to see it”.
“Are you saying this Island doesn’t exist?” The Woman is now welcomed by renewed fear.
“No it exists, I definitely saw an Island, I just need to get there, I can then send some help, maybe find a boat.”
“I’m confused,” says the Boy kicking the sand, “What should we do?”
“There’s nothing else to do, I’m gonna swim for it!”
“You can’t swim that far you’ll die! You’ve only been eating crocus veg! It’s barely keeping you alive let alone enabling you to swim to your imaginary fucking Island!” Gathering her breath after her outburst, her energy for such powerful emotions has to be spent more wisely it seems.
“Well, I’d rather try. I can’t wait any longer to dissolve, leave my bones, add to this dead beach of ash”. In his anger the man with glasses decides that he has to go know, so he makes for the sea. Convinced of his belief he moves with such haste that neither the woman nor the boy required such actions, with no hope of stopping this man with his determined flailing of sharp tools of which he is determined to swim with. Whilst striding out into the waves the voices behind him become whimpers, muffled cries of ‘come back!’
The Woman and the Boy can do nothing. Neither can swim so as to drag this poor man from his certain death, drowning from hope, they would all die. They fall to their knees clutching each other like old mantle-piece figurines. They kneel motionlessly in voyeurism. Before long the Man with Glasses is nothing more than a floating black speck on the seascape, true to form he vanishes at the vanishing point and from their view he is seen to be drowned.
From his perspective, though, he was out of their view but most definitely alive, considering his wasted physique he was more than a little surprised at the progress he had made and how calm the sea was. A mill pond mirroring his demeanour it was purposefully acting to help achieve his quest. The Island could only be a hundred breaststrokes away when he hits his so called ‘wall,’ Any rivals to his marathon swim could quickly swallow him up like a swarm of locusts on a crop, only the crop recovers, ever more flourishing. As he begins to believe that his friends were right all along. For all he knows, which for now is unclear, the Island could be mimicking the UV light of an electric fly killer. Flies aren’t this Islands prey. If he knew what a spider was, he would suddenly know that he would resemble this spider with its legs pulled off and heading down the plughole of nature’s cruel bathtub.