by the beach they sit and dream.
Tired old men, with thoughts they keep hidden, watch as the boat pulls
into the harbour with a fresh delivery. The show is as noisy and as over
the top as ever. It's always like this on Delivery Day. Somehow I doubt
that it will ever change.
Waves wash over the rocks on the shoreline, sending fractured water into
the air in bursts and shellfish lie dispatched onto the white, pebble-speckled
beach. They have been evicted from their home to be scattered like litter
on the sand. Unlike those of us who have been abandoned here, I feel that
these molluscs and crustaceans at least have a chance of being reclaimed
by the water when the tide returns. We have little chance of such salvation.
Shouts can be heard echoing down from the surrounding mountainside. A
group of men are up there, busy clearing a path through the dense forest
for others to follow. They have seen the arrival of the new delivery and,
as I turn to scan the mist covered outcrop of the mountain range, I see
they are working in the rain. The leaves of the trees are slick and lush
looking, even from this distance. The work party won't mind that. In fact,
given the heavy heat of the day, they'll welcome this refreshing first
light drizzle of summer.
Turning back to look out across the sea, I notice that a seabird has got
caught up in the distant fence line. Its frantic struggles for freedom
have made it exhausted and so, at last, it gives up to instead hang limp
and pathetic, by one broken wing.
I turn away.
I turn away and shut my eyes.
Once more she is before me, the prettiest, loveliest, sweetest girl in
the world. Her emerald eyes are laced with tears, searching for me. Her
long red hair shines in the glow of the sun, as it lays damp across her
shoulders. Specks of sand are stuck to long, evenly tanned legs that only
stop at the hemline of her white, single piece costume. It fits perfectly
and accentuates the curvature of her deftly crafted body.
Slowly she draws to a halt before me, her toes buried in a thin covering
of sand and places her delightfully long fingers on my waist. Her eyes
are intense, her brow curious.
And then, with a wistful smile, she moves forward and places on my mouth
a long lingering kiss that stirs my soul. I place my hands slowly around
her and hold her close to me, revelling in the sea-salt that has dried
- even in this short space of time - upon her full lips.
We part and I stand back a step to look at her again though my hands never
leave their place. The sweet smell of her lingers on the gentle sea breeze,
whilst her fingers stroke at my hair.
I swear that when the time comes for us to eventually sail away, things
will be different. This is a lady who deserves to feel the sunshine on
her back all of the time. She deserves all that is good. All that is not
mine to give.
As we part and she drifts away, I know that this is a vow never to be
I open my eyes.
has fallen and I am back inside.
A rough, biting wind, causing the meshed glass windows to creak from its
touch in their wooden frames, has lashed the gentle rain of earlier into
The new delivery moans about me. Not through fear of the weather, but
rather through fear of the future. The noise of the chains that have been
tied to the new arrivals until they have earned a little trust, echo through
the concrete mess hall that serves as the so-called recreation area. The
stenches of stale sweat and cheap badly prepared food is mixed headily
with the despair that fills the room. Bright neon lights all but burn
the eyes and tobacco smoke blown out in rank, choking clouds further burden
an already cloying atmosphere. The scrape of metal chair legs against
the room's bare floor seems to grate at my very spine.
Many a threat or whispered confidence makes up for a lack of any real
conversation. Meaningful talk is stifled in such a place as this. This
is no place for debate. Debate is a right of the free and all of us here
have had that right to freedom removed. The men, both experienced and
new, are experiencing the same pressing claustrophobia that is prison
life on the island and are resigned to it.
From this defeat there is but one escape and that is to turn inward.
I have found a doorway out of this place by closing my eyes. By closing
my eyes and dreaming of the girl I have left so very far behind.