I understood. Finally.
First, the smell of the sea. Then the smell of fish, so intense along with the smell of bread, it meant life itself. Then the fragments of rope, the consistency of the sail: so sheer in the light, so solid to the touch.
I understood the sense of abandonment and where it came from. The terror of losing the one I loved each time he left, the uncertainty of his return. And the worship of the boat shielding him from the elements, bringing him safely home.
Now I knew why the harbor, lighthouse, foghorn, had such appeal. I had been the fisherman’s wife before, as were my mother, my mother’s mother, back through the centuries. Far into the memory of the island, buried by sand and pebbles I had trod on as a child, while I stared into a blueness only whispering freedom and possibilities, silent about its secret essence.
I had not learned yet how to spell the word loss. But it was engraved in my cells, it circulated in my veins. It just needed to unspool as a fishing line from its reel. My heart firmly hooked, already bleeding.