The Notebook of Naval Doctor Cadmus O’Hare
Just ocean. Drifting.
Jakob is silent. He stands on deck, mid ship , and stares out into the horizon. I don’t know what he wants to see, maybe just anything. There are fish here, very large fish too. Offices seemed somber, Jakob held my bag and was vacant.
Humidity making our hair like seaweed. Jakob has been drawing solid lines across the pages of his sketch book. Solitary lines and always in the same place. I think they’re horizons. The crew is dehydrated. Yesterday Tweed suddenly went white as birch bark then took a few swaying steps and passed out. He got sick. Salt is a sickeningly thick taste on the tongue at night. My clothes are giving me rash.
A dot on Jakob’s horizon. For the last few nights I dreamt of my childhood. This ocean is just like a field of tall grass; weaving together, unraveling in the sun and under the moon. Last night Tweed talked to me of an aura that passes between the eyes of folks. He said that each aura had a perfect amount, being neither less nor more at any hour, but that it kept its levels constant by passing between the crew. Edith Erstwhile`s sad eyes over breakfast. Jakob`s sad eyes at night when the water is a spilt ink with lines of whiteout, sparse, against it. But then, the eyes of discovery or at the quiet moment of waking when they are blank and servile. I don’t think he’s right though.
Edith Keeps lowering her bottles over the side of the deck. Salt water, particles of seaweed and the refuse of fish. Jakob showed me a feather he’d gotten out of the water. Today he painted for a handful of small square panels the colors of the ocean. They were blurry, unfinished things all of which he tossed overboard. Together, with the soft “plunk” of Edith’s bottles being lowered and brought up, we watched them set out to sea. They raced ahead of us in the direction of our ship’s drift. I began a hymn to time today. This world seems to have a lot of it sprawling out as it does, endless and totally flat. The Captain stays in his quarters and reads, Tweed says, French novels. Tomorrow, he says, we’re lowering the nets.
The net brought up a load of colorful fish. Also, a large long bird which appears to be flightless. Jakob’s dot is almost as big as an eraser tip. I myself can see it when I look out over the water and through the binoculars; it’s the swift moving shadow of a beach ball. Most of us have cut our hair short to relieve some of our discomfort. Yet the heat remains unwavering. We’re not converting water quickly enough to keep everyone hydrated. Being on deck during the day is excruciating and my lips have begun to blister. Last night I dreamed of home and of Barbara. She was taping her half-finger on a glass counter-top and humming to herself. The idea of a lawn, dewy and cool to my bare feet.