Out here in the middle of the sea everything smells different. The air smells different, different smell your clothes, and if you pause them, then so do your thoughts.
Out here in the middle of the sea everything tastes different. Everything here tastes of salt. Leo, the sailor, can taste the salt in the air, he can taste it in his food, and sometimes when is lying alone in his cabin,in those times, he can taste the salt on the edge of his hopes.
In Leo’s cabin under his bed lies a brown box with engravings on its sides. The box is tightly shut and it has not been opened for a long time now. Some evenings when they gather in his room to play poker and to drink rum, the other sailors ask him – what secret do you hide in that engraved box Leo?
Leo never answers them. He just smiles and says – Some boxes are best left unopened.
Leo is standing on the deck looking at the sun set in the landless horizon. He can feel salt in his hair, he can taste the salt in the air. Today, was like every other day on the ship – he got up, went below into the basement to tend to the animals, then to the captain’s room to wake him. He wanted to tell the captain to let the animals out of their chains. It was not fair.
Then the day rushed past in a blur and the animals had to be fed again in the evening. When he was giving them food he could smell the salt in their sweat. The salt taste of the sea was everywhere.
Leo rushed to his cabin. He pulled the engraved box out from under his bed. He opened it and buried his face his wife’s clothes. Nostalgia swept away the smell of sea. The clothes, her clothes, they smelt like home.
Note – When I was revising this post, I realized how fractured it seems after a first reading. I think Leo’s story needs a little more filling. Don’t you think so too?