“Port wine is red and port has four letters like left.” For five years, Mick didn’t swim out to where Grandad’s boat had gone down.
The nets on the quayside are not the wiles with which I charmed you. They’re nets. They’re not the fisherfolk’s dreamcatchers that took our ambition. They’re nets.
The dinghy bobbing on the incoming tide is not your spirit that soared when you first saw me at the party. It’s a boat. It’s not our hopes and dreams before the love tide turned. It’s a boat.
The gulls that swoop down on the flecks of foam are not poembirds. They’re gulls. They are not lyric snatchers from the frothing deep. They’re gulls.
My heart is not – my heart is not a cartoonish pink, arrow-pierced. It’s my heart. It’s not, I’m afraid, any words that you may say. It’s my heart. And yes, it’s broken, but it will mend.
I piled my old, dried-out dreams into the bottom of the bare wooden boat. With the strength in my shoulders I heaved it out towards the horizon and, almost casually, dropped in a match. The flames flickered higher as the boat flared into the night, dreams becoming stars, each for their moment.
Murray taught his young wife to swim so they could spend more time snorkelling and looking at the fishes. He loved it. She found diving easy, gently flippering around ten or so metres down. Later she learned to drive the boat so he knew she would be safe even if he was not there.
He shouldn’t have taught her to use the speargun, she thought, as she opened the throttle and sped towards the Albanian mountains.