You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground
Her face burned behind his eyelids. He tried to find solace in sleeping, but it refused to grant him his request. Instead he lay there, motionless and too tired and too worn to breathe.
The pillows that lay underneath him still held lingering traces of the smell of her hair and for half a second, he expected her to turn over and shove him with those strong hands, telling him to wake her in a few more hours, just like she did every morning. Her eyelids would still be heavy and drooping from sleep but her eyes would sparkle with mischievousness only she could manage. He would refuse to leave her be, and she would slowly sit up and shove him from the large double bed, claiming all the covers and all the pillows for herself.He would laugh and she would smile and he'd let her sleep a while longer. He would take to the deck and run the ship and before long, she would emerge outside and breathe in the sea air. He would joke that the sleeping beauty had finally arisen and she would roll her eyes and put a soft hand on the wheel. She would normally shout some obscene insult at him and his eyes would widen and his eyebrows would rise. He would call her his pirate lass and she'd dig a sharp elbow into his ribs. She would steal his shirts and wear his coat and it could be sixty degrees below and he wouldn't mind. When the ship docked, they'd visit the local taverns and he'd buy her a drink. He would buy her something soft - like cider- and she'd take his rum. He would know what she wanted - he knew her like the back of his scarred hand - but pushing her buttons gave him too much amusement and he loved it.She would leave her things in his pockets and he would find them days later. She was argumentative and stubborn and wouldn't sleep until she had the last word. She would make their arguments last for days and never knew when to stop. She was infuriating and sometimes he wished they had never met. He would drink his rum and she would read her books and a silence would settle over them that they both detested. Sometimes he would give in first. Sometimes it would be her. Sometimes neither of them did and the silence continued.
He still lay there. He could see it all before him as if it were real. He could remember every excruciating, soul crushing detail. His chest ached and his eyes burned and his knuckles were burning from being clenched too tightly into fists. His mind replayed her body falling limp to the floor and her last 'I love you' as the light faded from her eyes and they glazed over forever. The ghosts of the thousand things she wanted to say in that moment disappeared as her life faded and left him kneeling on his deck and praying to whatever God above that it was all nightmare and he would wake up and she would be there, her hair sprawling onto his pillow and getting in the way and he would lie there and think about how he hated it when it did that.He didn't understand how he could feel so empty and yet feel so much at the same time. He felt useless and angry and empty and devastated and heartbroken all at once. He felt like he would shatter into a thousand pieces if the wind from the waves so much as brushed his shoulder.Finally, and with an extortionate amount of effort, he rose from the bed and removed his coat. It dropped to the floor and there was a soft thud that had never been there before.He emptied his pocket. Out fell her lipstick. Normally, he would have held it at ransom, refusing to give it back, no matter what she said or what she offered him in exchange. It was all part of his game; his little pranks and jokes and she wouldn't dream of spoiling it.Now, he placed it in a drawer in his desk among his other trinkets, where it would stay for an eternity and never be looked at again for fear of dragging up memories too sorrowful to re-live.She was gone. That smile would never again grace those lips of hers; those hands would never again be held in his own.He glanced at the silver hook that now took the place of his hand. He buried his anguish and warped his pain until it was anger; red, hot, violent, dangerous anger. He vowed that her husband would pay for what he had taken. His eyebrows knitted together in a resolute grimace. His teeth ground together as he thought of the fateful moment when he would take away everything that ever was, and ever would be, dear to the crocodile.He would not rest. He would not sleep. He would not stop for breath until the crocodile had paid with his life.