“Nothing happens at sea,” he had told her, and for the most part he was right. Mile after mile is the same: the blue sea-sky-scape he’d always known, the slow undulation of ocean swell, the maddening froth and staccato rhythm of storms, the constant hum of wind over canvas. An occasional pod of dolphins, an occasional albatross. An occasional moment of terror with an unfamiliar noise. An occasional evening symphony in the cockpit – sometimes Brahms, sometimes Zappa.
On this passage, there’s Christmas pudding, too. Every day, because she gave it to him as a parting gift. She is in the pudding. She is everywhere.
He had laughed when she gave him the pudding, 40 tins in all — one for every estimated day in the Southern Ocean — for the rich bricks will last much longer than his passage from Auckland to Punta Arenas. “So you won’t forget me,” she had said, patting the boxes gently. “I will not forget you,” he’d said. “But will you come back?” He had not answered, for as sure as she is from there, he is from nowhere.
But he feels the answer pounding in his chest, and he thinks it was wrong to say nothing happens at sea. Because he sails east but looks over his shoulder with every sunset and feels his heart change. He feels her hot whisper in the cold wind, and he’s not so sure he’s a nowhere man any more.