©2021 Michael Raven
We walked from the population center to the buildings being swallowed by the Ocean, my son and I [note: I do not have a son in real life], to go fishing in the waters beyond the newer ruins. We carried our fishing poles and made sure the residents saw we had our coronavirus masks on, though they seemed more intrigued by our kits and poles. “Americans,” muttered one in a business suit and a bowler hat, shook his head and gave us wide berth.
We thread our way between the newer ruins to the sandbars beyond, the more ancient places protected somewhat by an artificial reef of roman-style pillars and arches tumbled to ruin. The Ocean, it raged beyond the barrier, with waves reaching 20, 30, 50 feet in height, with a dark grey storm sky as backdrop. I wasn’t worried and my son didn’t know to be worried about such things as he ran ahead of me. I smiled because he smiled — though I wished he wouldn’t rush through the tide pools that filled with the raging storm between our destination on shore and the fallen city. Some were deep enough to pour over the hip waders I wore, filling them with salt water. It didn’t matter, I’d be dry soon enough.
I looked down at my feet and, to my joy, I found a fragment of the past: an olive-colored stone piece of an even older time, etched with hounds and cranes, weathered smooth and polished to a shine. I called to my son to share my discovery, but he was too far to hear me over the sound of the wind and the Ocean’s waves. A talisman for me, then.
I followed in his footsteps, the Ocean raging more and the sky getting darker with every step — but the kind of darkness where you can sense the sun behind the clouds. I found a jutting upright piece of stonework, stuck in the sand as if by some giant’s hand, with similar images as those carved on the piece I carried and I knew we’d come fishing to the the right place.
I caught up with my son, showed him my find and he smiled. Though the storm raged all around us, I only knew joy.