The Orca

“The waves will never cease,” she thought. The mountains, distant, not distant, somewhere reachable in her dreams, if she were dreaming—one step, a soaring, arcing, wonderful thing she did night after night, were blue. And the water passing beneath the ferry was blue and foaming white, sending back, sending back to where it spread itself into the wake and retired. There were orcas in the water, and people had seen them, but she kept a half-interested eye out for them, just as she scanned for—what were they—signs about things, the weight or not of ordinary things in terms of the way they led her here or led her there, the sky for example, the seagulls ferrying themselves on the brisk wind up there—were they in twos or threes, near or far from her, from the boat? Jackson stood nonplussed, hands raised like a surrendering someone-or-other, at the entrance to the deck, his soft shoes planted on the steel threshold.

“Go back to Daddy,” she went to say but a wave of nausea hit her and she heaved then vomited over the bars, into the water. He began to cry and she imagined behind her David picking him up and consoling him as the wails diminuendoed, back into the ferry. “Mommy’s sick,” he was saying.

Several people were pointing now, at the mob of seagulls now ravaging a thing out there on the water. An orca breached its slick black and white body, in plain sight of everyone, near enough, like the mountains, to discern certain things about it of which she was certain for only a fleeting moment, then quietly inert and awed for the remainder—it was blind. It was a female. It was angry. She could, like her at that moment, throw herself to any depth of any blue ocean with perfect happiness and without regret, and it was, by breaching so suddenly, admitting that her signs, her certainty about things, her health as she imagined it—like a never-ending novel since she was twelve and had sought for a cure, was all up there, all totally unaccounted for and fucked, and she was ready to call it quits. But she returned, belly up into the water with a big splash as her husband spilled out with Jackson in his arms to riotous applause from the Japanese crowd, the seagulls dispersing, and with her—down, down, down, into what was cold and blue and pure like mountain air, she was going too.

Thanks for checking out my short story.

Did I tell you I wrote a novel? You can read it here for free, or get it for your e-reader on iBooks, Amazon or Kobo. Or you can just say you read the book, and donate five bucks down below. Go on.

Gabriel Muoio

$1.00

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