Saturday 28 November 2015

The Sea in His Eyes

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

Where the sea met the iron-laced rocks, great crashes of change echoed in roars as wave after wave of salty water cried and died. Slowly the impact and the salt had worn away at the existing structure until a gaping depression bore into the cliff in the form of a shaky alcove whose ceiling was unsteady under the jittery legs of Alexander Irvin.

"Please," he pleaded. "I need this."

The one he addressed calmly took a smoking cigarette out of his mouth and dropped it over the precipice. Alexander resisted the urge to move towards him, so much closer to the edge this man was that at any moment he could fall into the bellowing battle below.

"I'm not sure you know exactly what you want, Irvin," he replied. Putting both hands into his coat, the man stood still as a statue while Alexander shifted his stance, making gliding motions with his arms.

"I've known I've wanted this since the time my path took me away from everything I love," Alexander maintained. "The only one hesitating is you. Do you know what you want?"

The man casually turned towards the horizon: a line between navy and candy flossed blue. "I know I want peace."

"So do I!" Alexander insisted.

Shaking his head, the man once again faced the boy, wondering why only thunder echoed from his maw. "No, Irvin."

Alexander gritted his teeth and took a bold step forward. A terrifying instant but nothing happened. The man's bushy eyebrows lifted in surprise for a moment before gravity returned to cloud the oceans in his irises. "I want peace more than anything," Alexander repeated. "I know your amulet will give it to me."

"Your judgement is clouded," the man stated. A brutal onslaught of smashing waves shook the ground underneath their feet. "Raging want will not be gratified by what comes from outside its source."

As Alexander took another careful step forward, another wave smashed in tandem with his intentions to break this man's defences, "I swear on everything I've lost that I will grant your wish for peace."

"You cry salty tears," the man replied, "the waves crash as you do, crying to be heard, never appeased, only eroding away at what keeps them steady."

"I swear!" Alexander roared over the ocean. "Why can't you believe that?"

The man shook his head again and stared out at the ocean once more, the boy's plight all but forgotten. Alexander hesitated for a few crucial seconds, knowing every step towards the man was a gamble on both their lives. Finally, he resigned to backtrack. The ground cracked where he slid his foot back and he cried with alarm, hoping the man would come running back to safety. He was the only one to leap back to safer ground. The greatest crash echoed as the alcove imploded and the cliff was no more. Alexander knelt on its new edge, unable to believe in death, until he noticed an object shining in his hand. An trapped ocean glistened beneath the surface of a glass iris encased in gold tied to a chain. Peace, the man had wanted. Alexander shook, gritting his teeth against his body's seismic tremors while slowly bringing the amulet to his forehead. His tears joined the waves, still crashing in a never-ending tantrum.

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