The old man walked wearily along the salt-rimed quay, to the bench where he sat facing the cold grey sea, his thoughts many miles and many years away. Watery sunlight broke through the mist, silken silence broken by the foghorn keening its warning to unseen passers-by.
He bowed his head in silent prayer, thoughts turned to the night when the ship went down, overcome by the violent storm which broke her spine and left him floating amidst the monstrous waves. In the cold light of day, fewer than twenty had survived. He relived the nightmare hours spent as they huddled together trying to preserve warmth. He remembered the faces of his friends who lost their fight, life drained from them by the hungry sea; the anguish of having to break their lifeless grip, sending them sinking to a place where no flowers could mark their grave. Now only he remained.
A couple laughed as they dodged the sea. It surged, stretching out icy fingers of spray, clawing at their feet, the quay, and the solitary figure sitting on the bench
“You OK mate?”
A fixed, glassy stare. Grey, sallow skin. The sea’s patient wait for the old man was over.