Catharsis

Mukta Singh-Zocchi

A Monologue by Mukta Singh-Zocchi

You stand at the bow, Jeezee, marveling at the way the thousand sunbeams pencil through the thick clouds and graze the flat water. Like a sea demigod, the sun hides and hits the poor, gray beings. Day 15 aboard the MSZ’s-Delight, we shall reach Hilo tomorrow.
“We’ll wear hard shoes and tread the solid land. God, how I’ll hate it!” You mutter and I watch a dead fish float by.
Eighteen years have elapsed since we embarked on our life path together! Magic transpired from your words then: “The sea is inconstant, the sky has its unkind sides too. But they just have their moods, you find when you are out there. Soon, you are conversing with them.”
And, “Life can be much leaner, my love! Alone, out there, you sort the unimportant from the important.”
You were the simplest man placed on earth, with a deep, deep passion for the sea; and me, a girl from the plains of Delhi, had seen neither such simplicity or the sea nor a similar passion.
I bite on a soggy cracker topped with the last remains of cheese. Today the wind is calm, the stay sail up and the course steady. There’s not much to do, perfect moments to chit-chat. But the view being fine, you are lost too. I continue to reminisce.
For you, I gave up many things, little and not so little. It did not matter much then. For spending a lifetime with you, Jeezee, seemed just right. Having children, I took in stride, and metamorphosing from an ambitious woman to a domesticated Mrs. Zee, I took it alright, didn’t I?
I climb down in the cabin and lazily tune the radio. “I met a hula girl at Waikîkî,” a Hawaiian station but the signal is disturbed. I jiggle the knob, the signal is completely lost. Slapping the radio, I climb back up. Can’t stay in the cabin for too long! A smell, I can’t tolerate, of diesel, maybe. Salt water, you’ve suggested many times. But really, it smells of other men who owned the boat before you, Jeezee. Men who like to sail, love their boats. So much the boat loves them back and keeps their scent. You think I am crazy, “She has been thoroughly scrubbed,” you have reminded me often.
I understood your love for sailing, even though I was indifferent to it. Your classes at the California Sailing Academy, I supported. Because you needed an adult partner, I even accompanied you on short excursions.
The day you showed me the Ketch, you fingered its form, “40 footer, two masts, a jib, a stay sail, a main and a mizzen. MSZ, I like this baby,” and then you asked, “What do you think?” My heart sank, for quietly I dropped the idea of purchasing my own Lexus-Luxury-Coupe-SC-430.
The wind veers abruptly a point or two. Instinctively your hands work the sails, long before I can formulate the words, “Do you want me to sheet in the main?”
Sensing my presence, you break your silence without turning around, “Cherish the spectacle, darling! We are its sole witnesses. You, me, the flying fish and the dolphins.” And the dead fish, I add.
The bag of crackers catches your attention, you draw one out and scrape off some cheese from the wax with a knife. You bite and wrinkle your nose and I say, “Nice and soggy!”
You sit next to me, throw your arm around and give me a squeeze, “Oh MSZ! You are sulking again. But it’s alright. Two branches of a tree can have different rhythms.”
We started the same. Same tastes in songs, food, people who we called friends. And now our rhythms have differed? Different fates, maybe. Different fates, led by deliberate steps, now regretted?
I am standing behind you, wanting to say something important to you. The sea and the sky have firm holds on your gaze, don’t they? When was the last that you had looked my way? A strange bird flies along and has taken your attention. This bird is new to you. You rush down to grab your bird-book and binoculars. I shake my head in frustration, eyes riveted on the horrible bird.
I am not happy, Jeezee. How could I be?
“Why did you come then?” you might rightly demand.
Your plans to take a sabbatical and go solo around the world date back a long time, true. Still it worried me when they turned to reality.  What caring person would allow their loved one on a venture such as this and all alone? You agreed to shorten the trip and to take me with you. But two thousand miles later, the weather warnings and the towering waves, the scrambling to change the sails and the long nervous moments in the cabin watching everything that is mobile, knives even, fly across as the violent storm waves rocked the boat, the always cold and wet underclothes and the salty stickiness of the skin have all started to make me wonder. What am I doing here?
True child of the earth, I find your idea of sailing away from it all abhorrent and no, I will never be able to derive pleasure just from watching the sails fill up. I refuse to learn how to tack, port or starboard, when the wind is against us. Most of all, it is your indifference to me that I find unacceptable. You have shown me in many unmistakable ways that your love for the sea surpasses everything and everyone. Today, all those things that I gave up to be with you are glaring back at me, seemingly in a scoffing way. I have decided to fly back to LA tomorrow from Hilo.
My Darling, the long whiff of the fortnight has succeeded in blowing out the magic of our eighteen years and I don’t think our life henceforth will be the same again. While contributing to my decision is, without doubt, your relentless indifference, the elements too, I must confess, were not exactly favorable.

Bio: I am a writer, scriptwriter and a publisher. I have written two novels - "The Thugs and a Courtesan" (2014) and "Game of Big Numbers" (2018). I write short stories, primarily historical fiction. I manage the Hindi literary magazine ekalpana and ekalpana Kitab Publishers
Address: 3544 Maplewood Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90066
Email : mszocchi@gmail.com   phone : 310-3910616
website: www.muktasinghzocchi.com

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