Horizon Of Hope
Ariel risked a look at the vastness that was the sea.
Panic assaulted him from all angles. He was afraid of the sea. His family was fishermen. His father had a little fishing boat called the Tranquility. It was strange that his father had loved the sea, while his own son feared it.
But his father was not there. He had died, just last week. Of pneumonia.
Now, there was no one to feed the family.
At first, it was ok, living on small savings and the meager salary his mother could earn by selling cloth at the market. But soon, the money had vanished, into hungry mouths that were always asked for more.
Now, his family lived on stale bread from the baker that no one had wanted. Sometimes there were none. And he had to go hungry.
That afternoon, his brother found a silver coin in the floorboards. He took it to spend, and returned with a loaf of corn bread to save his little sister. The bread had vanished.
He spent his whole afternoon on the beach, regarding the water. His fear lightened considerably, but he still couldn’t go out.
He knew he had to do something. But what? He could barely look at the sea, unable to touch it, much less take from it.
That day, he woke. In the last hours of night.
I can’t go.
Yes, you can. You still have that old boat.
I’m too scared.
That’s no excuse.
I’m afraid of the sea.
So? Don’t you think that your own family’s survival is more important than your own phobia?
I know, but-
THERE’S NO EXCUSE! No excuse for you to cower in your bed while your family starves! No excuse for you to stay at home while your siblings die of hunger! Haven’t you seen their bodies?
Look at their emaciated forms! Can you bring yourself to do this? Remember what your father said? Never let down your family, even if you have to face the devil himself.
By the time he had lost the thought battle, dawn had broken. ¬¬He marched down to the little pier with tears on his face. He saw the boat, and, for the first time in his life, boarded the Merry Lady. His father had taught him the ropes, the sails, and the ways of the boat.
He untangled, tied, strapped and looped, even though his insides felt like ice that was melting, and undid the rope on the pier.
He would head out.
As the ropes snapped into place, and the little engine coughed to life, He watched the sunrise.
He thought of his house, of cupboards that would soon be full, and of his family, who would wonder where he went, and chuckled to himself. He laughed and skimmed the water with his fingers. It was pleasantly cool on his hand.
His fear vanished like ice in the blaze of the sun. The boat turned towards the horizon. A horizon of hope.