He Laughed Like Croaking Ravens

Posted: November 11, 2013 by writingsprint in Adrift
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

moon over oceanDew formed on the inside of the raft. John drank every drop he could find. He squeezed it out of his clothes, even his hair. The moisture tasted like heaven on his skin. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. Starts stretched from one horizon to the other. John thanked God that the seas were calm. He wondered if search and rescue could see him more easily on a night like this.

He didn’t hear any planes.

“They need to be looking in the right place,” his son Jeremy said.

“Are you here now?” John asked.

“You mentioned search and rescue. I liked playing with planes as a kid.”

“That’s pretty thin.”

“Yup.”

It was weird, being sure he was here, yet not seeing him. He used to know he was about to fall asleep when he would catch myself thinking gibberish like a serious man. It was like that. He knew how crazy this was, but in the moment it made sense.

“Are you doing okay at college?”

“I graduated college five years ago.”

“Your voice sounds the same as it did then.”

“That’s the last time you saw me in person. I moved away.”

To the other side of the country. To play music in bars in Baja California.

“Don’t knock it ’til you tried it.”

“You know what? As long as you’re not strung out on drugs, all I care about is that you have a life and that you’re happy.”

“I wish you told me that.”

“I’m sorry.” He wanted to cry but the tears wouldn’t come.

“I’ll take them on faith,” Jeremy said.

“Thanks. If I get out of this–”

“When you get out of this.”

“Since when are you Mr. Positive?”

“You wouldn’t let me be any other way. Now it’s my turn.”

“When I get out of this. I’ll cry enough for both of us.”

“I know.” Pause.

“What’s up?”

“I never told you, I met a girl. We’re married.”

John sat up. He couldn’t see his son, but if he did he might’ve reached out and shaken him. “What? How the hell could you not tell me that?”

“It was an accident. I got her pregnant. We had to.”

“When?”

“Last year.”

He was glad that he had mixed feelings. Now, drying up like a raisin in the middle of the ocean, he didn’t want his last thoughts to his son to be about shame and honor and living responsibly. They were mixed regret that he hadn’t met her yet and regret that Jeremy had felt too ashamed to tell him.

“Boy or girl?”

“Boy. Little Jimmy.”

It was John’s turn to pause. “You named him after Hendrix?”

“He was our favorite musician for both of us. That’s how we met.”

John had to laugh. He sounded like croaking ravens, but he still laughed and it still felt good.

“I’m happy for you. Be a good dad. Be good to her.”

Warm feelings. “I will.”

The dream felt like it was ending.

“Wait for dawn,” Jeremy said.

“What?”

He became conscious again. The moon was two-thirds of the way across the sky. Other than water, John wished he had a book. In this moonlight, he might have been able to read.

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