“Why don’t you just fucking listen to me! Why can’t you just hear me out with this one, trust me” Expressed Liam.
Anger in his voice wakes me to reality. I look down to where his head hangs. It no longer sits, perched with his lively personality inside like shortly after the accident. His head now unnaturally slumps, bent, off to the side with his back leaning against the cold mask of the boat. I thought about the overwhelming silence which deprived me of sanity. It was the loudest noise I had ever heard. It was able to make my heart, bones and muscles ache through the simple sound which it didn’t offer. Blisters had grown over his defenceless lips from the scorching sun as if they were a plague, consuming his body. It must have been at least a week since the storm had hit as some of the blisters have burst, weeping a transparent liquid that oozes out onto his now scaly-dry skin. Several unforgiving grazes disguise his skin which used to be so soft and young with only a few imperfections. They lead me to the right side of his head. The wind had pushed his blood-matted, mousy-coloured hair, over the gash which exposed his fractured skull. I think to myself, this injury is what has killed him. The boat has killed him. The storm has killed him. My tunnel vision, controlling attitude has killed him.
I wish I had listened.
The open-air feeling outside had been of relief after trying to navigate through the humid airport to our dodgy, ran down rental Toyota van, with Liam and I’s limited Spanish speaking knowledge. We fulled up the van at the airport gas station before heading off on our journey to port.
After travelling for 10 minutes I parked up the van beside what appeared to be somewhat like a 4square from home, I stepped outside to once again be greeted by a brisk breeze. Rio Gallegos would be our last bigger town stop before the real trip began. Once I had filled the food basket up, I bought Liam and I’s food, toiletries and other items which would be needed up to the counter. A husky voice grizzled out some very brief English, influenced by a strong Spanish accent: “Why you here?”. I explained that Liam and I would be sailing through Drakes Passage where the screaming 60’s wind travels at such pressure that the sea is, at times, unable to be sailed. Upon mentioning Drakes Passage I knew this old man had became engrossed in the topic of our trip.
The change in the attention of his manner pulled my mind back to the truth of how big this trip was. I knew what we were doing was dangerous. I knew only a few people had done this for a reason. What I also knew was the feeling which fear gave me. The adrenaline rush each crashing wave would send through my body, gushing up from my feet to my head, like an electric shot.
The elderly man gave another grizzle so I decided to get him on with what we really wanted, our snacks and bits n bobs for travel to port. I grudgingly handed over our scarce money. When starting walking out of the store I noticed Liam’s presence was not closely lingering behind me. I turned around to see half his body in front of what seemed to be a safety gear display. I curiously walked with urgency towards him. A knot had started to tie inside my body from not only anxiety but also anger. We had already talked about the safety gear for the boat back at home. It had caused tension from our differing viewpoints of the safety equipment we each thought was necessary, with the limited money we could spend. This moment in the shop had taken me back to when the argument had arisen at home. After only working for a year we collectively had only a small amount of money. Our savings had diminished in size after paying for our flights and the sailing boat. I had argued we didn’t need the emergency position radio beacon because we already had the marine radio which would be a perfectly fine back up if something happened. However, Liam being much more cautious, wanted to buy one. After 2 days of battling with each other’s thoughts and the silence which had engulfed us, I took over. I had already told him we couldn’t afford it. All he had asked for was for me to listen. But no. I had undermined him. I had dictated his decision all over a fucking beacon worth $50.
Snapping back to reality, I peered over his shoulder to see what equipment he was looking at. Not to my surprise, he was looking at the beacons. Once again, I took avoidable, worthless control.