The Romantic

1700 A. D. The Caribbean

There are many ways in which a man loves a lover. There are tales about love young men used to tell when we were sailing through the Atlantic. Tales about love of how a man wooed a woman and they lived happily ever after. How a woman left her dear papa behind taking all his riches for the sake of her lover. How a man fought valiantly for his love but in the end both died. I would chuckle every time Arthur told these stories, for sometimes they seemed funny. We were on a voyage then, sailing through the vastness of the ocean with nothing for miles save the enchanting aquatic species I had the opportunity to gaze upon once in a while. My chaps – my companions I shared my chamber with knew nothing about but ‘the romance’ and I doubted anything else occupied my dear companions’ brains. They were young; all of them, ageing from the youngest Arthur, one and twenty to the wisest Henry, eight and twenty. My companions were English students and, somehow, had the fortune of touring and teaching the ways of Shakespearean literature to the people settled in the colonies of the West, Amerika. Yet among the vast verses of romance and death I had so learnt about throughout my journey from young Arthur, I saw him – the man who shattered the teachings of human relationships.

When on water, there is neither King nor Duke to rule and no Lord can challenge the might of the brave Captains on the blue surface. It is the Capitan who you deal with, whose orders are not to be unfollowed. And there was the Capitan of our ship, bold and elegant, standing on the deck with those dark brown curls of beard around his face. His masculinity soared much higher than mine, as years of experience dealing with storms and wrath of the oceans had made his actions stern and tough and his voice gruff and coarse. Yet my emotions and my heart would never seek satisfaction in this age nor in any other age.

I would gaze upon the Captain as he would over the vast ocean. The cool wind that kissed his cheeks, the lips moist by the last drop of rum, the feathered hat perched over his head, the strong arms steering the wheel of the ship. He was a strong yet delicate idol of human species. At a moment, I would find him pouting over a sailor, abusing him with the worst slangs, God forbid, I would not name. And other times, I would find him with the same sailor sharing a pint of ale and singing shanties about the oceans and stars. I would stare at him for hours; a silly thing to do for a young man, but was too cautious as not to spread any suspicions. In the end, it did not matter.

Our ship – Sword Storm, was caught in a storm. Usually, men do not do that – the laughing with open heart in the face of catastrophe. ‘Have you passed through this night before?’ the captain yelled with amusement at the panic stricken people running wildly over the deck. ‘Look how she goes!’

We scrambled hither and tither, some sliding on the water, but the sailors kept their nerves. The brave men heaved and let the sails out keeping the ropes tight. In the commotion of fear and agony, I still saw his face. And I learnt that he would never look at me with those adoring eyes the way he gazed upon her. She had charmed him with her beauty and he was equally lost in her arms. She begged him to leave her and go, but he didn’t hesitate. The sailors lost the ropes and the mast broke. Only the boats could have saved the petty souls now. One by one they all jumped into the boat, I being a dear let others slip away from the clutches of the death. Finally, there remained two other sailors and me. I saw them and they both stared at each other.

‘The Captain. Where is he?’ a new recruit among the sailors asked. ‘He won’t be coming.’ Replied the other.

‘Don’t be absurd. Fetch him now.’ shouted his companion but the other did not follow his order. ‘You know nothing about the Captain. You don’t what happened to Jamie. The Captain will never leave.’

At that moment a huge splinter of wood went flying from my left and hit both the men out cold. I ran towards the Captain who was still holding the wheel of the ship. ‘Hello Jamie. You are still here?’ he asked me. Years aboard the ship had finally made him aware about the ghosts that haunted his vessel. But the other ghosts never bothered him as I did. ‘I have always known about you. Go Jamie. Never come back.’ Said the Captain. ‘She is my love. I would never abandon her.’ The waves slapped her and she did not resist the onslaught. Sword Storm finally gave away. The Captain smiled but never let the wheel go. ‘Farewell Jamie.’ Together they were devoured by the fury of the ocean. There are many ways in which a man loves a lover, but not like his.

I saw him, I moaned for him. He was the reason I refused to let go the real world. Now that he is gone, I accept my salvation and seek refuge in the abode of eternal Space.

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