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Chapter 19 - Calm Seas

We finally emerged from the cliff. The dirt path with white picket fence laughed at me as I finally ascended the gray metal steps to the lighthouse. There was a couple sitting on the opposite side of the lighthouse with a telescopic-lensed camera. They were looking down and pointing. Chuck wandered over to where they were, looked down, and then called to me to come over.

“Look, Lilian.”

He pointed straight down. I told him that I get dizzy looking down from high places. He told me to sit on the ground and then look.

Wary and tired, I had to force myself to look over the cliff. My curiosity won out over my acrophobia. I looked over the edge.

Six hundred feet below in the dark blue ocean, a mother humpback and her new baby played. I watched this beautiful creature for what seemed like hours. Occasionally, the mother dove below the surface for some time, but she always emerged just a few feet away from her baby who could only stay under a short time. She was a good mother. Where the descending cliff touched the water, waves crashed against the obsidian and the ocean sprayed white foam into the air. The sea was dark blue, but the rocks just below the surface created a turquoise marble. The ocean air was clean and fresh, just like in Wyland’s paintings. What I saw on the surface was my reality. What they saw beneath the water was their reality.

Watching these humpbacks made me realize how much I needed to feel happy again. I wanted to be a good mother to Andrea. The mother whale and baby were completely happy. She didn’t seem to worry about sharks.

I wish I could swim with them.

As deftly as the idea sneaks into my head, I quickly pushed aside the thought of flying free and happy into the ocean below. I was too scared to speak to Chuck much less launch myself into the ocean from 600 feet up, but I wanted to. I wanted to not worry about Sarge emerging from the dark. I wanted not to care about anything. If I didn’t care, then I couldn’t hurt. Love, guilt, benevolence, obligation, fear, repute. All of these kept me tied to Chuck.

“Are you ready to go?” Chuck asked from behind me.

“Yeah,” I said. I wish I could swim with them. I started to stand, and I got dizzy. Good. Let me fall.

“Whoa,” Chuck said as he grabbed my waist. I stopped moving and gained my balance. “That could’ve been bad.”


“Let’s take the long way this time,” Chuck said as he held on to my waist, and he guided me.

We started our two mile trek back to the car, but this time, the road was wide enough to walk side by side. Chuck held my hand, and we strolled along the dirt path. I remembered the whales as we walked. She was a good mother. I wanted to be like her. My thoughts drifted to Andrea, and I saw her sweet face and her soft eyelashes sitting like tiny feathers on her cheek. A smile creeped over my lips.

“What are you thinking about?”


“Did you like it?” Chuck asked trying to gauge my silence as we drove back to Kailua, Wendi’s apartment, and Andrea.

“I did. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen whales swimming in the ocean. I’ve only seen them in pictures or their bones in museums,” I said.

“Maybe we can go back sometime.”

“As long as we take the long way.”

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