The horizon was so straight that it could threaten one’s sanity.
The man on the boat felt a powerful need to see a bend in that unbroken edge, where the ocean met the sky in every direction; but no matter where he looked, it was an utterly straight line running from one edge of his vision to the other.
In his meditations, the lone sailor let his gaze rest on the horizon, not that there was much else to occupy his attention. The vanishing point where blue met blue seduced him with images of infinity. At times, his brain’s desperate efforts to find dimension twisted the line in his eyes, dizzily yawning up or down or towards him, and he would struggle to find the still point where above and below would again be equal. Sometimes he thought that the line curved away, as if the globe of sea and air in which the boat was perfectly balanced was being inverted; in those moments he let himself experience the sensation of the world being emptied out into the endless void. But in the end, it all came back to the undisturbed blue of the water, the utter blue of the sky, the boat, and the straight line.
The man occasionally imagined that the line was time itself, running its course in the undefinable distance while he floated untouched. Certainly, the place seemed timeless; no sun passed overhead to mark his days, and no moon turned in the night to mark his months. There had, he believed, been a beginning to his existence on the boat. He possessed vivid memories of his prior life, memories that lingered despite his desire that they fade. It was that very desire to forget, he knew, that caused his memories to remain strong; desire was, as ever, a powerful and devious enemy.
A more basic desire, that of sustenance, he could battle in a more prosaic manner. The ocean held an improbable number of fish.
It was while he was fishing that the event occurred, the first event of any distinction. Its occurrence reverberated through his mind, as different from his normal experience on the boat as the number one is from zero.
The man watched the dark spot in the sky for some time after its appearance, feeling time reasserting its hold on him once the event gave time someplace to stand. Eventually the spot grew, and the man recognized something falling.
It hit the ocean not far from the boat, sending up a plume of water nearly as high as his head. The man leaned over the railing of the boat and watched the area where the object had struck; soon, a figure bobbed into sight, a man floating face down.
The man on the boat smiled. Finally, he thought.
[Go to Chapter 1.1]
[Go to Chapter 1.1]