Mike Brown (Deakin University, Australia)
Our boat shudders over this wave, cresting and plunging into the pit newly opened beneath us. We shout to hear our voices over those of wind and water. Again, we pitch over another gargantuan wave, feeling the gravity take hold of our stomachs as we descend once more. The spray blinds us. The wind deafens us. The horizon refuses to remain still long enough for us to get our bearings. Above the spray, clouds encircle us, moving fast like smoke in the wind.
Another freezing wall of ocean slams into and through us, smacking breath from our bodies. The shock of icy water followed by the blast of the wind. Salt fills our open mouths and we splutter to expel it. Our faces are slapped numb as we tip down once more, scrambling for balance on the lurching wooden floor.
All of our time and space is now, filled with the force of the elements surrounding us; all thought is blasted away and left floating somewhere in the swirling winds behind us. This wave has gone through us and into the far waters behind where the failing light that remains still flecks the surface. The next hits the same but the coldness is less. When the wind calms only slightly, it hits us like a deep silence. The pitching of the boat begins to subside. Patches of salt still cling to our faces.
We hear faint birdcalls over this weaker wind. A smaller wave comes through, leaving us in its fitful wake. Daylight is going now and we are among twilight, facing the growing dark. We turn to look back, brushing back stiff salted hair from out of our eyes, to see hills of land or cloud, far ahead on the horizon below a sky now reddening from its greyness. The boat, the sky and these waves coming forever have washed everything else from our minds. We are inside it all, perfectly encompassed by it; there is nothing left outside. The water turns black as the clouds swim over the low sun ahead. We remain standing alone in the black together. We remain here, still here.
Mike Brown is an English language teacher, linguist and emerging writer. Based in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, he is currently studying a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.