Dust on the Sea

Rashid

My tears did not stop pouring, it was like I had acquired a tender of filling a swimming pool at the middle of a desert and the best I could do was cry. The note that Arthur Clarke had written was submerged in my tears and my convulsions made my hands weaker; I could hold nothing anymore. Batra, who was my most loyal companion sat on my laps, he joined my weeping although no tears came out of his face. He was a beautiful cat. Our meeting was very peculiar and I was more of a master to him, because I understood his anger, his hunger, his laughter, his exhaustion, every bit of his feelings. Arthur loved him too because I starved with him and when it came to celebrating my affluence, he was a part of it. He knew that I was weeping to take out all the bitterness that laid inside and he didn’t mind the fact that I was weeping like I was to baptize him with tears. Was it suicide? Did he know his fate? I wasn’t sure of all this but one thing I was sure of is that the day when Arthur Clarke died, something died inside me. I don’t know what it is, but I will find out in the soonest of time.
I had put Arthur Clarke on a pedestal, it was so strong that I even thought he was immortal. Actually, he knew that it was all risky but he went on with it. I lay in painful confusion.
 
We had been seeing the dust on the sea – which was something unprecedented- since the previous month. Our own curiosity led us to go and find out what caused the dust to float and not dissolve in the sea, or even sink. Was it really dust? Was it natural? Did it have effects or not?
 
To reach the dust on the sea, we were supposed to swim across some planktons, then swim on top of a natural depression, then get to the dust. That was close to a kilometer and a half from the sea shore.
On that day, the tides were low. So we maneuvered through the water with ease. The dust consisted of a thick circular layer of sand. It was purely sand with some little impurities. It smelled of lilacs. This floating suspension was just out of this world. As we filled our bottles with the mixture, I started to feel my feet being pulled. My ingenuity led me to deduce that the distortion of the composition created a vacuum. Then suddenly, the mixture started to sink, were also sinking. Arthur Clarke gave me a mighty push. He strategically did that when a tide was coming so I was moved further by two meters away. Under the water, I saw the circular motion of water and Arthur was hopeless in its might. He was being pulled to the center, farthest below where I noticed a big dark hole.
 
The distance to the sea floor was unfathomable. Well you see, time of death is more elusive than most people think. Death by asphyxiation takes only several minutes. That’s a very long time when every cell in your body is screaming for air. I made a decision and swam back to the shore. I had no mixture with me. I had lost everything and nobody would believe what I had seen. Trauma hit me hard and for once in my life I regretted doing something. I then woke up and vowed to myself that I will accomplish all that Arthur Clarke had started so he would be proud of me wherever he is. I promised to stay true to my oath.
 
I picked my weary self up and put Batra aside. I picked up the wet note that Arthur had left in my book the previous night. I started rereading it with controlled emotions. I read it out loud this time so that Batra could listen, maybe he could understand. I read like my whole life depended on the reading. I read it without sighing. The note read:
Robby Palmer
 

Let me sleep for my soul is intoxicated by love and let me rest for my spirit has had its bounty of days and nights. Let me embrace the arms of slumber for my open eyes are tired.
 
Dry your tears my friend and raise your head as flowers raise their crowns to greet the dawn.
 
Do not sing of the past for the song will rob you off all these life’s pleasures. Sing of the future with smiling lips even though your voice is reduced to silence and do what I wasn’t able to achieve, that is when my soul will be at peace.
 
Disturb not the air’s tranquility with chanting and requiems but let your heart sing with me the song of the future. Talk not of my departure with sighs in your heart. Close your eyes and you will see me forevermore.
 
Here, I can hear music of heaven in exact harmony with my spirits desires. I am cloaked in full whiteness; I am in comfort; I am at peace. I have gone to rest upon the wind but in due time, I will be born again of another woman.

Arthur Clarke

Dust on the Sea

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