I read something in the paper and it made me think about you.
This is what it said: Our lungs contain 300,000 million capillaries.
And this is why I thought of you.
The distance between Dublin and Boston is approximately 3000 miles. You had told me this when you were staring south west with the kind of madness I have only seen in sailor’s eyes when they lived in lighthouses too small for their giant ship dreams. It should have worried me, that glint in your eyes. I just dismissed it as one of your maritime rants – something you had done since we were children, that I should have taken more seriously.
But I didn’t. I didn’t know the hold the ocean had on you.
When we went to the pub later that evening, you told me I should have the fish and chips, but the way you like it, with more vinegar and no tartar sauce. I said that made it too salty, and you told me that was how real sailors ate their fish. My reactions always were slow to your behavior. I believe the expression ‘at sea’ was applied more often than not when you spoke, jokingly by your friends, seriously by your parents, lovingly sometimes by me.
I never thought that the walks when you mentioned the ocean’s calling on the beach when we were children had any more to the idea than the romance of it all. So when you told me you belonged to the ocean, I thought you were talking about your soul.
It never truly meant anything to me until I saw the letter with my name pinned to where your boat had been roped at the dock. Goodbye, it had said in three paragraphs full of the ocean and my entire soul had turned cold – in shock, not quite sure if this was happening, as if this was a dream. I had looked up to see that your boat was still on the horizon, or maybe I imagined it, that deep was the shock you left me in. I had jumped in without thinking, without knowing what was going to happen next. I just wanted you. I wanted us back – 16 out of the 18 years I had lived on this earth seeing you every single day. I wish you knew that I swam after your lost trail long after you had gone, until the ocean, like the jealous lover she was, forced me to lose my breath somewhere in the freezing depths of the water.
I have never quite regained it.
The distance between Dublin and Boston is exactly 2991.42 miles. My now shallow lungs contain 300,000 million capillaries. If I laid each one out, end to end, they would stretch 1500 miles.
It’s madness, I know but I would do it, if I knew that you would lay yours out too…and met me halfway like you once used to.