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Saltwater Room

Based on ‘The Saltwater Room” by Owl City.


He opened his eyes. It’s been far too long since he had a good night’s sleep. Looking at the clock, he realized it was midnight. He sighed as he walked towards the window. A burst of cold night air rushed in as he opened it to look outside. It was pitch-black, besides the single streetlight that illuminated the road in front of the house. The stars danced across the sky, singing a lullaby to the planets below. He took no heed of the sight before him, as he was far too tired to care.

Nothing worked. He just couldn’t sleep. The monotony of the world around kept him awake and, in the end, forced him silently downstairs and out the door. There were two paths to take; the first followed the streetlights and led to the heart of the city, the other followed cold iron rails that carve their way through the countryside and eventually meet the ocean. He took the second one.

The fresh night air that blew gently across the hills grew stronger and stronger as he neared the bay. The only sound that could be heard was the soft rolling of the waves, sometimes accompanied by the hoot of an owl nestled in the trees. While walking, he took in all the details of the world around him; the clear sky, an albatross on the docks and moored boats, the running lights of an airship moving across the sky, the old lighthouse that jutted up from the rocks, and the starlight that spilled all over everything.

Finally reaching the bay, he sat down and thought about everything, about the air traffic, about the sea, about love and life. The music started playing in his head and soon filled the port with a blissful ambience. He didn’t notice time passing by at all.

A sigh was heard, but it wasn’t his. He quickly stood up, noticing the girl standing beside him. “H-h-hi?” he managed to squeak. The girl just smiled and continued walking down by the bay. The poor guy was in a state of utter panic; not knowing what to do, he decided to follow her. Immediately regretting this decision, all his words started pouring out.

“Umm, so, why are you here?”. She simply answered, “Staring up at the stars that aren’t there anymore.” They looked up, and noticed that indeed, the stars were fading away as the first few drops of sunlight hit them. Is it morning already?, he thought. They resumed walking until our star was above the horizon, then she began to leave. He opened his mouth to ask her something, but no words came out. They both silently went their separate ways.

He hadn’t even asked her name yet.

The next night was the same, a trip to the bay, secretly hoping she would be there. True enough, she was. They didn’t talk this time, but it felt as if they could read each other’s minds. He heard her asking the same question he had. Soon after that, the Sun rose, and they parted.

The following weeks were his happiest, knowing that he now had a friend. Every night they would meet, stroll down the bay and start talking. As time passed, they talked more and more; commenting about the beach, about life and introversion. The lingering question in both of their heads begged to be asked, but neither had the courage.

The Sun rose once again. Just before they parted ways, she opened her mouth to ask the question they had always thought about. Before she could begin, he answered it with a smile.

“Oh, all the time.”

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Thoughts on the Sea

scenery penang

We humans have always been mesmerised by the sea. Of course, I’m no exception. Every time I visit the beach or the coast, I can’t help but take as many pictures of the view as I can. I can’t help but stare in wonder as the Sun sets below the shimmering waves. Just the thought of setting sail on the morning tide makes me feel dreamy.

By our nature, we were made for land. Our bodies are just so slow and cumbersome in the water compared to, say, a graceful dolphin. The way the water just curves above their smooth skin and how their fins cuts through the water is simply beautiful. They were made for the sea. But us, we are forced to stay in the shallows, gazing out to the open water, wondering what that other realm looked like. Many tales were told of sea monsters and mermaids and sailors who sailed too far & simply fell of the edge of the Earth.

Still, this didn’t stop our curiosity. We built rafts, then boats and ships, to set sail and explore the uncharted waters of the world. This led to what some people call the golden age of exploration, spanning the 17 to the 1900’s. The age of colonisation. Conquerors and explorers ruled the waters those days. Just compare a map of the Earth from the 1700’s to a map from today; you’ll see how far we’ve come in just 300 years.

Sails were soon replaced by propellers, and ships grew bigger and bigger. Luxury ocean liners are still used today. Of course, none of the modern ones would have the grandeur of the Titanic. With a gymnasium, theater and countless lounges, the ‘unsinkable’ ship weighed more than a hotel, yet was buoyant enough to float on the water. Alas, it was lost due to an iceberg.

Of course, following ships were submersibles, allowing us to traverse the great depths of the ocean. Yet we have only explored less than 5% of the sea. Who knows what lives out there in the remaining 95%. Perhaps all those stories of mermaids and sea monsters are more than just a myth. The fact that we know more about our solar system than we know about our own oceans right here on Earth always fascinates me. This just shows how limited our understanding of the world around us is, and yet we still have this wonderful thirst for knowledge.

We’ve since mastered the oceans. But there still is much more to discover. And still I long to set sail from Port Blue on Marlin Isle to the open sea, and disappear beneath the waves.