|It was just a fish in the ocean. The warm Indian currents flowed over us as we kept still, aware of each other as we faced off in the darkening gloom.
I strained my eyes as the last rays of sun filtered through the ocean and illuminated the Firefish. Like a slow moving shutter the last rays of light flickered off the blue-white eyes and long antennae.
The images I remember are bright and vivid, but at the time my eyes must have seemed just as translucent and quiet as those of the fish. I remember that with each flicker of light my mind compensated by burning ever clearer images into my memory, as the light, continuing to dim, forebode my approaching darkness.
The spines on the Firefish's back reached up and arched backwards. Orange and white-striped with a blue tip of poison at each end, they tapered off towards the tail.
I try to recollect all the images of her face, I wonder if there is always a danger in beauty. I ask myself - should I have sought more, tried to experience more deeply, or is it my curse that to have seen such wonder, to have been with her, is to never experience the same again?
The fish remained calm, it seemed to understand me. To know I needed this last view of what I would never see again. Its tail fins, like three tiny fans in the water, beat continuously and kept our distance constant.
I hope my pain will dim. Like the light, when I saw the fish. I hope in vain. The darkness grips me, and holds me, always the same distance from her. Julia left 3 weeks ago.
The fish had magnificent pectoral fins. They were fans of much softer spines that started off in deep orange and faded to white at their tips. Just where they started to fade they were webbed with a shimmering silver that made up the large fins on its side. They beat ever so slowly by the fish's side as they wished me closer, wished to comfort me.
I often feel like in the darkness Julia is coming closer. That she is willing me to come to her. I can't see her. I can't feel her. I feel that if only I could see her I would be able to go to her. There is no way of knowing. I feel no comfort.
The fish had a beautiful body of rusty brown, with bands of white and a strip of orange in the middle of each band. There was a harmony throughout. As the last ray of light flickered across the Firefish I caught the perfect glimpse of the exotic creature. I reached out slowly, knowing the spines would poison me, knowing that there was no point to my action. The Firefish simply moved backwards slowly. Watching me as I advanced in vain, it allowed me to imagine a touch, without putting me in danger. Then as the last flicker of light fell, it turned and left.
I remember swimming back to shore in the dark without needing to think about direction or time. I knew then that the time had finally come. I knew that I would let Julia slip away, that I could not keep her close, that I could not hurt her.
I still feel the moment I let Julia board the plain back to South Africa from Mauritius alone. I feel the helplessness that I felt then when I first needed a guide. I feel our last kiss goodbye. I still feel what it is was like the first time I could no longer see any of her face.
The island breeze flows in many fits and starts. I feel every one of them. I sense when it moves up through the palms, how it dives under the veranda, how it teases by falling away. I know when it is tired of teasing, before it flows warmly and comfortingly over me. There are many graces to my blindness. When I walk along the beach I smell all that is the island. I hear the life of the island in ways that I never did before. I still swim. I still see, in my mind, that Firefish.
I see nothing new.