We had our Tutorial 4 assignment posted up on FC the day before yesterday, and we had to write a piece about a strong physical reaction, using all the things we have been taught so far. We were instructed to write a list of around six things in our lives that caused this, and then choose one of them to write about.
We weren’t given a word-count, so I just sat and wrote – and wrote! I ended up with a 1,200 word ancedote, so I put it up on our tutorial group forum, and my tutor posted her comments yesterday morning – she enjoyed it very much, thank heavens and, apart from some niggles about my speech punctuation (which I know I need to work on), she was complimentary of my story, which was a huge relief for me!
Anyway, I figured that I might as well post the story on here for people to enjoy!
As the fishing boat made it’s way out of the sun-lit harbour I sat, relaxed and ready for anything, on the bench seat that followed the curve of it’s sides. With me were the skipper of the boat, Winston Evans, my husband, Bob, and ten holidaymakers, all intent on having a great time, and determined to catch the mackerel we were promised were in abundance at the moment. The skipper, standing in his tiny wheelhouse, steered the boat expertly out towards the open sea, and there was a gentle murmur of excited chatter as we all looked out ahead.
Above the chugging sound of the engine, and the mingled smells of diesel and old fish, there was a tang to the air, that unique smell that could only be found out on the sea itself, of ozone, and kelp, and the heavy saltiness that goes onto your tongue as you take each breath. As we sped along, the waves slapped at the bow of the boat, and left ripples behind in it’s wake. There were a couple of seagulls flying above the boat in anticipation of any spoils thrown from the overeager holidaymakers, and they cried out occasionally, as if encouraging the boat to make more speed.
As if in answer to this, the skipper let out the throttle, and the boat surged forwards, slapping at the waves as if using them as springboards to get further along. I immediately felt a touch of nausea, and I swallowed hard, and took a deep breath of the cold, clean air to counteract it. The nausea subsided, and I sighed quietly in relief, not wanting to spoil the trip for anyone.
I was actually a very reluctant passenger, and had only agreed to the trip to please my in-laws, who were safely ensconced on the beach, looking after our two-year-old daughter, and who had gaily paid for the fishing trip as a ‘treat’ for Bob and I – this was a treat I could have done without, but hadn’t had the heart to dampen their enthusiasm so, here I was, beginning all the signs I knew meant I was in for a rough time, and too cowardly to say anything before we were too far out to do anything about it.
It was with some relief that we eventually found ourselves at the “perfect spot to catch a bite,” as the skipper phrased it, and I was relieved to feel the boat slow, then stop at last. The skipper came out of the tiny wheelhouse, then went to the bow of the boat, and released the cable that let the anchor drop down into the depths. It made a satisfying ‘splash’ as it hit the water, and some of the holidaymakers started snapping pictures of everything around them. Bob stood up and stretched, then casually made his way to the aft of the boat, his body adjusting to the rise and fall that the waves caused, then he moved along to chat to the skipper, I presumed about the fishing, as he was interested in getting as many fish as he could for our freezer.
As I sat there, I stared ahead at the horizon, and gradually became aware of the rise and fall of the bow in my sight. I immediately felt a hot flush to my cheeks, and my stomach gurgled in rebellion at the sight. I drew another quick breath of air, hoping to stave it off, but immediately felt a strong surge of nausea again. In panic, I quickly stood, then leaned over the side of the boat, frantically taking deep breaths, but all I could see below was the boat going up and down in the water. With a wail of embarrassment, I immediately threw up every scrap of lunch I’d just eaten, then crouched there in misery, empty stomach heaving away.
I felt a hand go to my forehead, pushing my hair away from my sweating face, and supporting my head, and I smelt the woodsy aftershave Bob always wore. “Why didn’t you say you felt ill, love? You didn’t have to come, you know.” His tone was concerned, but my feelings of guilt at not having the nerve to say anything, gave it an accusatory sound. “I didn’t want to spoil mum and dad’s treat,” I wailed, as yet another spasm wracked my body. Behind me, I could hear exclamations from others on the boat and, just a few feet away, I heard the unmistakable sound of someone else losing their lunch, and further on again, someone else. It started a chain reaction that ended with only the skipper and Bob in full control of themselves, and eleven miserable, shivering wrecks leaning over the sides.
Bob came up and handed me some tissues he’d found in his jacket pocket, and I wretchedly tried to mop up, dabbing at the tears that streamed down my pallid face, hands shaking in reaction. I looked down and, to my shock, the head of a dolphin sat in the water, mouth grinning away at me, and sitting just below me. “ You’ve just missed lunch,” Bob called gaily down at it. This broke the ice, and set people laughing who, seconds ago, had been utterly miserable, and I felt able to turn around and face the boat-load of people who, instead of fishing, were all now huddled around the sides, trying to recover.
“I’m so sorry, everyone,” I said, almost afraid to look at those around me, “I was fine until I saw the bow going up and down . . .” I trailed off as my stomach lurched, just at the thought of the movement.
“That was your mistake missus,” the skipper chimed in, “one of the worst things you could do, is that. No wonder you decided to feed the fish, instead of letting them feed us!” The people around me laughed half-heartedly at his joke, and a sense of normality gradually came about, with strangers chatting to each other as if the best of friends.
I sat, shivering with the cold of reaction, and I felt drawn, almost old. I didn’t want to suggest curtailing the trip, as everyone had paid a fee to come out there, so I sat in silence, Bob’s jacket wrapped around my shivering shoulders, while everyone recovered, then started to get out the fishing rods provided by the skipper. Bob came and sat besides me. “It’s okay, love,” he murmured quietly to me, “you won’t need to stay here long. As soon as the dolphins appeared, I realised there’s no chance of catching many fish. I expect Winston will just let them try for a while before taking them back, and they all seem to be having more fun taking pictures of the dolphins than fishing anyway, so I don’t think they’ll be that disappointed.” He hugged me gently, then moved off to show a novice how to bait the rods, and I sat there, feeling like I wanted to die, praying for the time to go by speedily, and determined, if I made it back safely to shore that, never again, would I step foot on to a fishing boat – and I’ve kept that promise!