Santiago meditates on being alone . . .
"Now," he said. "You can let the cord go, hand, and I will handle him with the right arm alone until you stop that nonsense." He put his left foot on the heavy line that the left hand had held and lay back against the pull against his back.
"God help me to have the cramp go," he said. "Because I do not know what the fish is going to do."
But he seems calm, he thought, and following his plan. But what is his plan, he thought. And what is mine? Mine I must improvise to his because of his great size. If he will jump I can kill him. But he stays down forever. Then I will stay down with him forever.
He rubbed the cramped hand against his trousers and tried to gentle the fingers. But it would not open. Maybe it will open with the sun, he thought. Maybe it will open when the strong raw tuna is digested. If I have to have it, I will open it, cost whatever it costs. But I do not want to open it now by force. Let it open by itself and come back of its own accord. After all I abused it much in the night when it was necessary to free and unite the various lines.
He looked across the sea and knew how alone he was now. But he could see the prisms in the deep dark water and the line stretching ahead and the strange undulation of the calm. The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.
"No man is ever alone on the sea." That's a pretty profound statement from Santiago. It touches upon a feeling that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. Isolation. Alienation. It can happen when you're completely alone (in a boat on the sea), or when you are surrounded by a crowd (at a beach, concert, or parade). Because this feeling is not about physical closeness. It's about emotional and spiritual closeness. Or distance.
I'm sitting on my couch right now. It's late at night, pushing 1 a.m. Everyone else in my home is asleep. I just turned off the TV, and a ringing silence has settled in my ears. I can honestly say that it feels as though I am the last human being on the planet. The Omega Man. I'm waiting for Godot, but, of course, Godot is never going to show up.
These emotions are false. My whole life has been filled with wonderful individuals who I love and who love me. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Yet, at times (like tonight), loneliness can seem very tangible. Almost a physical presence. It's up to me to figure out a way to shake off this presence.
Earlier tonight, I attended a performance with my family of the musical Nunsense. It's a show I know very well. I've directed productions of it. Twice. I directed Nunsense II, as well. And I worked with almost all the same actresses each time. These wonderful women are family to me, and their characters are my crazy nun aunts. Going to the theatre tonight was like coming home. (Two of the lead nuns tonight starred in my productions, as well. So, it was a Back to the Future kind of feeling.)
I sat there, listening to the jokes, knowing the punchlines. I remembered the lyrics to every single song, and I could have done all of the choreography, as well. And my son, who had never seen the show before, loved every second of it. Seeing it new through his eyes was sort of amazing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, sitting in the theatre tonight, surrounded by my family, watching my Nunsense gals, I didn't feel alone. My mom and dad loved Nunsense. I remember them sitting in the audience, my dad laughing so hard that he took the handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe away his tears. My sister, Sally, attended every night of all of my Nunsense shows. She sold concessions, but, when the shows started, she stood in the back of the auditorium and watched the entire performance. My sister, Rose, loved the nuns, too. She cackled at every one-liner.
Tonight brought back a wonderful time in my life. A time filled with laughter and love.
Saint Marty is so grateful for the Nunsense blessings he received.