The Old Man by the Sea

Waves crashed against the rocks in rhythmic swells. Every hundred thousand years, the sea would swallow the rocks and retreat back, a rhythm no living thing could witness. In a million years, the rocks would be gone. No, not gone really. Pounded into fine sand by water and wind. Still there, just different. The old man sitting by the rocks felt the same way about himself. He’d come here as a boy, then as a young man, then as an older man. Now he was ancient. The sea had changed him just as it had the rocks. Salt water breezes had etched lines into his face; infused his hair with the essence of the never ending rhythm. The sun had done its part too, hardening his skin to a darkened leather.

“Oy! Hail there, sir!” came a young man’s shout. The man old heard, but didn’t turn. Instead a wrinkled hand waved his acknowledgment. “Why do you sit here still? It is almost breakfast time.”

“I am not in the mood for breakfast,” the old man replied. The young man said nothing. The old man had been eating less and less of late. One day he would stop eating all together.

“What do you see out there?” the young man asked after a long time of waiting.

“I see two oceans. One of air and one of water,” the old man replied. The young man laughed.

“It is strange to think that we live at the bottom of a sea,” he said.

“Yes. But it is true, also,” said the old man.

“What do you really see?” the young man asked. The old man chewed on his thoughts.

“I see eternity.”

“How do you mean?” the young man asked.

“How long do you think these waves have lapped upon these shores?” the old man asked.

“I do not know,” said the young man.

“If you ask a natural philosopher, he will tell you many thousands and thousands of years. Maybe even millions. But for us who pass through this life in an eye blink, it is the same as eternity. Our lives, our villages, our long lived names, they will fade. A heart beat of the Earth and all that we know returns to dust.

“Here is the secret though. The sea, this eternal thing, it is the same. It came long after the Earth’s beginning, and it will fade long before the Earth’s end. Nothing, you see, is truly permanent.”

“You’ve been thinking a lot about this, haven’t you?” the young man said.

“All my life.”

“Are you going to come or not? Your children are waiting.”

“I think… I think I am ready,” the old man said. He got up and stretched his back, taking the view in one last time. The young man turned away.

“Mama says that the fishermen will have some trouble with the choppy waves and the mayor is hoping to put up the decorations around town square before noon and…” he realized the old man wasn’t following. He turned back and saw he was gone. Only the ocean greeted him. He smiled, remembering something the old man had told him once. “We all came from the sea. To the sea we shall return.”

The young man walked back to town with sad, but happy news in his heart. If he hadn’t been such a sentimental fool who watched too many dramas on the Telly, he would have realized that the old man hadn’t passed on, vanishing like a ghost in a dream, but rather that a rogue wave had unpoetically dragged him screaming out to sea, his voice drowned out by the rhythmic crashing of the waves.

3 responses to “The Old Man by the Sea”

  1. That was profound. And the ending- didn’t expect that. Guess I am a sentimental fool too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, and by the way, when’s Oblivion part 5 coming out?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stay tuned! Part 5 is coming soon….

        Liked by 1 person

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