Monday, April 9, 2012

Storm Petrel

The sun touched the surface of the blue waters, causing it to shiver ever so slightly. As if thrilled at the warm golden touch after a night out in the cold. A tiny bird swooped to the water, scattering diamonds of drops on the surface. Each eager to trap a bit of the sun and light themselves up. The little bird rose sunwards and circled the sky, watching its own creation draw sparkling patterns in the silent hour. Dissatisfied, she dipped again, causing another stir, another ripple, another pattern.

She watched from the deck of the ship as another bird joined the first one. Together they continued to draw on the canvas of the sea, with the gold of the sun for paints.

“It’s a storm petrel,” he said. She angled her head so she could look at him better. How did he manage to move so stealthily? Or maybe she was just wooly headed. “Sorry?”

“Those birds out there,” he waved towards the two artists slowly being joined by more and more like minded birds, “they are called the storm petrels.”

She smiled. He would know. It was what had attracted her to him in the first place. How he seemed to know so much about the sea he loved. She looked back to the birds that kept splashing to the sea and soaring to the sun, weaving invisible threads which formed the horizon.

“How do you know?” She challenged, certain he would have an answer. “They are barely more than dots against the sky.”

“Oh a multiple number of reasons,” he said evasively, “like the wind’s picking up. I can smell the rain which has just drenched them. And far beyond this horizon, lurk the clouds which carry this rain. But above all, sometimes deep within your heart, you just know.”

She sighed. “When you talk like that, it is difficult to not fall for you.”

“Like what?” he smiled, and a dimple dented his left cheek. He moved to stand next to her and leaned on the railing. She barely managed to breathe. The wind caressing his skin inches away from hers sent impulses which numbed her thoughts. “Like what?” He prompted. His eyes caught hers. They were like the ocean at night. Forever changing colors, from a smoky black to steel gray, depending on his mood. His mood was a mischievous charcoal right now. “Like what?” He whispered for a third time.

“Like there is a poet haunting your sailor’s soul,” she whispered.

“When you talk like that,” he moved closer, the smile on his lips threatening to merge with hers. “I feel like a storm petrel.”

“What?” She frowned and pulled her head inches away from his.

“Monogamous,” he explained.

“Whatever happened to the poet within you?” she laughed.

“The storm scared him off,” he straightened up.

“What storm?” She asked confused.

“The ones the petrels are warning you about,” he smiled.

She looked out to the ocean. It was windy. But then out on the ocean it was always windy. As far as she could see the skies were devoid of any threatening clouds. The storm petrels sure had increased in number and were gathering closer to the ship. She looked at him and frowned. He shrugged his shoulders.

“Whenever there is a storm approaching, the petrels get closer to the ship. When the storm hits, the hide in the shadow of the ship. So in a way they warn us of an approaching storm. It is why they are known as the storm petrels.” He explained.

There it was again. His vast knowledge which drove her insane. She stared at him. His eyes changed from charcoal to a stunning gray. “Look behind you,” he urged her. She turned her back on him. Thick black clouds were frothing at the horizon. Of course he had to be right.

“I warned you,” he whispered against her ear. Once again she was taken aback by how silently he moved. “A storm is approaching.” Something in his voice made her snap her eyes back to him. He was grinning. He raised his hands and pushed her shoulders.

She was too stunned to react. She felt her feet leave the ground as she plummeted over the railing, into the glittering ocean below. Startled, the storm petrels chattered violently. The splash as she hit the waters drowned out their frenzied chirping.

Then everything went blank.