Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Song from Afar

I took a lung-full of air and plunged at an angle, my body gleaming in the sunlight before it disappeared. The song came from the north, faint at first then growing louder like the knell of a fog-bell on a distant buoy. It was the first time that I hear such a song, yet it was one I've been longing for as it reverberated through my spine into the depth of my loins.

A primitive feeling of urgency took hold of me. For days and nights I felt as if I had lost all control of my faculties while being goaded by an intangible need. A blurred mirage of mother hung snugly in a dark recess of my brain, emitting a feeble light that turned the blackness into a fugue of gray. An anamnesis from the past, as shapeless as the surface of the sea on a windless night rode the back of the song from far away and guided me ahead.

It grew loud as the water got colder, crisp as the air turned brisker. I felt the currents, diverging near the top, converging the deeper I dived. A vast solace engulfed me in the frigid darkness and when I resurfaced I irresistibly stared with misty eyes at the stars above. Getting my bearings by sound and light pervaded me without any conscious attempt. Where did I learn to do that? Who taught me? The questions, the myriad of them, remained unanswered.



On a spry morning, 49 rising and setting suns after I left the bay, I saw them in a pod dotting the horizon. I called and they answered back, wordless voices of certitude but of little or no choice. They are like me, I reckoned. Memories trickled back then flooded my field of vision. I saw the school I grew up with. I felt the warmth of mother. I remembered ephemeral associations. That’s what brought me here and what will take me further west till I reach that solitary humpback! That’s what brought the others here too. The song, the eternal song, I hear for the first time.

Jets of froth filled the air and cascaded down like broken chrystal. Tall obelisks of fury erupted and ruffled the shoulders of the undulating waves. I was cornered in the endless ocean among my peers, fighting with each of them for my right of passage. Only if I could best this brawny one off to the left. Oh, and that one with the ugly cut in the fin, and the slimy looking one there and that fat one and the other.

With the break of dawn the melee came to an end. The ocean had turned red with the blood of the losers and mine. My body fat consumed, my strength depleted, only the burning in my loins remained. I swam by her side then circled around. Her own quest had come to an end, she acquiesced. She stood still realizing without looking back that I was the sole one for her. I made one last shallow dive and took her from below, holding her with invisible hands. As our eyes locked and my sperm flowed irreversibly into her she sang her eternal song one more time but only for me.

She will call again and I will swim across the earth's oceans. She is mine, we both know it, till the end of time.

7 comments:

Gabriela said...

It seems to me our own Odysseus found his own siren. She is yours but... are you hers?
As usual, an outstanding combination of words. Thanks you!

abufares said...

@Gabriela
This piece was inspired by a National Geographic TV episode on humpback whales. They are large beautiful animals who mostly lead solitary lives. Their mating has never been documented before although they are extensively under study and observation. Humpback whales are not monogamous by DNA evidence.
This male whale, however, did state toward the end that the female whale will call one day and that he will come to her summing across the distance :-) What does it mean exactly? You should ask the whale.

Isobel said...

I've always loved whales. One of my must do's is to travel to the coast of Newfoundland to see the whales swim. They're so majestic. I think I wrote, a while back, about finding a floppy 35 (back in the days of records) in a National Geographic when I was about 8. I could listen to the recorded whale songs. It was haunting.

Your writing is beautiful, Abufares, as always but this had more imagination involved and you pulled it off supurbly.

Of course, the kid inside also has to point out that your article also reminded me the movie "Finding Nemo" and Dory who knew how to speak whale. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqDZf3smobI&feature=related

Enjoy! Thanks for a wonderful, inspiring post. :)

Joseph said...

This post, Abufares, was delivered with a whale's punch. And, the imagination of a soaring Condor. :-)

abufares said...

@Isobel
I didn't quite celebrate New Year's Eve but instead sat with a glass in hand in my favorite pub in town "Sile" on Jan 1st.
For some odd reason I challenged myself to write a short story in exactly 30 minutes. No cheating!
"A Song from Afar" was the result. I wrote this piece, save for the last paragraph, that evening and that was it. A few days ago I took my actual first look at it. I wrote the conclusion and fine-tuned it to its present form. I enjoyed the challenge tremendously. I think the reason I wrote about whales was a spontaneous one. I wrote the first thing that came to mind and the National Geographic Whales episode literally jumped in my head.
I would love to be your companion in your travel as I have yet to see a humpback whale. It's a recurring dream of mine, swimming with a school of whales in what is refereed to as "association". You're welcome to join too :-)
Finally, the "Finding Nemo" clip was so funny. You made me laugh so hard in the office. Lucky for me, my secretary is fast asleep so she didn't hear me. I will find the movie on DVD and watch it with the kids asap.
Thank you for your comment.

abufares said...

@Joseph
I've told you once and I tell you again. you have the uncanny ability to squeeze the meaning of words in nectar form. Only a poet at heart can do that.
Glad you enjoyed my "experimental" piece of writing. It was fun :-)

Joseph said...

You're giving me more than I deserve, Abufares. You're so very kind. Thank you.