Redemption Of The Sea

Pacific Ocean sea coast

He sprinted towards the sea, his slightly softened body bouncing with each bounded step on the water-hardened sand. Reaching the cold water, he slowed, stopped, and turned to walk back towards the rocks high in the gray loose sand of the shore. His body was covered in tattoos. Only his left leg was bare from the ink that covered his stomach, back, chest and arms with intricately designed landscapes and colorful scenes of war.


Reaching the rocks, he ran his hand through his dark hair. His brow furrowed and he shook his head slightly at himself as his fingers worried his hair. He gave a slight yank with his fingers at the end and set his jaw. Clinching his fists, he sprinted back to the dark and angry sea. Stopping short of the water’s edge again, he collapsed to his knees and punched the stiff sand with his clinched fist. Screaming at the sea, he wept. And no one heard the thuds of his fists or the screams from his throat.






Stephen walked along the corridor of the ship. He stumbled on the lip of a doorway as he passed through it. Falling against the bulkhead, his head clipped a pipe that ran water throughout the ship. Stephen winced and felt his head gingerly. His head was fine. His stomach, however, was clinching and rolling. He had to get to the ship’s medical bay before he passed out from the nausea and dehydration. Continuing along the ship’s passageways, Stephen gripped the walls. His pace was slow; doubling over in pain impended his usually long strides.


As he approached the medical bay, he cautiously stepped over the bodies of sick men strewn about the floor. Lolled heads fell back with mouths open, gasping for water with raspy breaths. He felt a hand circle his ankle and squeeze. Stephen glanced down to see his buddy looking up with dulled eyes.


“Oh man, you too?”


Stephen nodded before heaving into a luckily unoccupied corner. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he turned back to his friend.


“What the fuck is this from?”


“No idea, man.”


Stephen left his friend to shuffle to see the doc checking in patients.


“I don’t feel well.”


“Take a seat, buddy, no one feels fucking well.”


The doc was frazzled and clearly overwhelmed by the sudden influx of sick patients throwing up on his bay floor. Stephen heaved again and the doc snapped at him.


“Go drink some Gatorade. The wait for an IV is a few hours.”


Stephen walked towards the orange five gallon buckets and filled a paper cup with yellow liquid. Letting the liquid touch his lips, he flinched at the taste and drew the cup back to take a closer look. A rainbow film covered the top of the yellow liquid. Dipping his finger in the Gatorade, the oily film made a circle around his skin.


The fuel and god knows what else has leaked into our drinking water.


Stephen looked around at the men laying around the bay. All of them had crumpled cups beside their bodies. Stephen limped back to his friend.


“Stop drinking the water.”


His friend had fallen asleep.


Beginning to waver more, Stephen stumbled back to his bunk in the ship. He would try for an IV later.





He awoke with a velvet tongue. Glancing at the water at his side, he sat up and held his head between his hands. It felt like he had a hangover and he was almost delirious with thirst. Swinging his legs over the side of the bunk, he moved towards the passage of the ship. Everything was out of focus and his brain felt like a fog of confusion.


Somehow he got back to the medical bay, which was empty.


How long was I asleep?


Stephen fell against the desk occupied by a tall and dark doc. He vaguely felt the doc grab his arm and lead him into a room where an IV was hanging next to a medical bed.


“Take off your overalls.”


Stephen protested weakly before the doc unzipped his suit to the waist and removed his arms from their sleeves. The doc pushed Stephen onto his back and began taking his temperature. Stephen felt his arm wiped with something cool before a sharp prick made his brain sharpen. He opened his eyes to see the doc adjusting the drip of the saline bag before exhaustion overtook him and he drifted off.





Something was moving the fabric of Stephen’s shirt from the waistband of his pants. Crawling out of the fog of his mind, Stephen opened his eyes in time to see the doc pressing along his lower abdomen.


“Does this hurt?”


The doc gazed down on him while Stephen shook his head slightly. He couldn’t seem to bring himself to speak. The doc’s hands moved deftly under his shirt…and then began to move down.


“What are you doing?”


Stephen’s voice was raspy and cracked. The doc just looked at him silently as he reached down and grabbed Stephen’s cock.


“Get the fuck off of me!”


Stephen struggled to sit up and was pushed down by the doc who remained silent. His hand was firmly wrapped and he began stroking. Stephen froze, weak and vulnerable, and unable to fight off this large man. He closed his eyes and wished for the exhaustion to come back.





Stephen lost weight over the next few weeks. Every time he would see the doc in the passageways of the ship, his stomach would turn and he would run to the nearest balcony to wretch over the side of the ship. The doc would smile at him. Stephen couldn’t look him in the eye…he couldn’t look anyone in the eye anymore.


I deserved it. I should have fought him off. I should have done…anything but…Why did my body betray me?


Stephen began to wither away.


The act was simple. Stephen thought about how he would do it after the last “man overboard” drill. It was easy to lure the doc to a part of the ship that no watch could see in the middle of the night. Stephen went to the medical bay during the doc’s night shift and asked the doc to follow him outside. The doc suspected nothing and approached the sponson like he was meeting for a lover’s tryst. Stephen’s fist came quickly, knocking the man unconscious with a dull thud. The doc’s body slumped to the ground and Stephen struggled to push it over the sponson.


The body’s splash into the sea was indiscernible from the typical laps of water against the hull during an accelerated speed. No screams. A slight splash and then silence as the night sky glittered above Stephen’s head. Stephen calmly lit a cigarette and took a long drag, becoming just another sailor enjoying a smoke break on the side of the ship.


The ship looked for the doc for a few days before giving up and continuing the passage to Australia. One man’s life didn’t stop an entire ship’s mission.


Stephen ran back to the sea one more time. He remembered the sound of the splash that happened twenty years ago as his feet hit the water with a similar sound. Stephen wouldn’t stop running this time. He would swim as far as he could until he knew his energy couldn’t carry him back to shore. He assumed he would float for awhile, like the doc might have, before succumbing to the sea and finally paying for the crime he committed. The jury of Stephen’s mind had sentenced him on that fateful night and he had been outrunning his sentence for twenty years. His salty tears joined the sea as he began to swim.

On A Writer’s Relationship With Their Readers

I have written before that as a reader, you get to know a writer extremely well if you pay attention. You begin to see their habits and their characteristic flaws, you might notice a pattern in writing styles or grammatical errors, and you understand their most intimate views on the most intimate of topics. And here is the thing: the writer doesn’t know you at all; the writer does not know your story and how you might relate to what you are reading. The relationship of a reader and a writer is generally one-sided. The reader might grow an attachment to the words on the page and imagine that they have an intimate relationship with the writer. As an avid reader myself, I feel that connection with many of authors with whom I felt a deep connection with when I read their stories…and they don’t know that I exist.

For most blog authors, their audience is tens of thousand of strangers. For me, I average about 80 readers a day. This average includes the past two days after I finally linked my Facebook to the blog and opened my writing to a bunch of people who know me through various means, be it from work from years ago, grade school, the gym, ex-boyfriends, old Marine buddies, friends of my husband’s, and extended family. They are used to a relationship with me that is extremely surface-level. Those who do not know me well and who have not had late night existential discussions with me are suddenly thrust into a completely different view of who they think I am.  And that is nerve-racking.

I decided to get rid of my anonymity after I had floated some of the stories I have to people I trust. I have received both good and bad feedback, but mostly really good. I honestly hope my discussions of PTSD and anxiety help some people overcome their own battles, because people I know are still killing themselves, even in the last 24 hours.

The hardest thing about using a blog as my medium is that people jump around the posts. They don’t read things chronologically, which can affect their opinion of me and how the stories are meant to be delivered from me to them. As a writer, I need to remember to reference other portions of the blog that might explore something in more detail. It is scary to know that people read this stuff and then see me in person. But I have no idea what they have read, or what they might think, or what their relationship with me is in their head. Luckily, the few people I have seen have been fantastic to me and haven’t treated me like a leper, which makes me think they haven’t read the entire blog! Haha, but seriously, those who do this, thank you so much for continuing to accept me.

Some people have read a few posts and then reached out to thank me for my strength or courage and how proud they are of how brave I am.

I am none of those. Keep reading.

Chapter 13- On Marine Suicide

I found out on Saturday that one of the Marines I knew in Japan killed himself. He was walking down the stairs during an argument with his wife and blew his brains out all over the stairwell. He had been going through some things in the Marine Corps; had gotten in trouble and been demoted. The police suspected his wife until they discovered a suicide note at work. So this tall, goofy, adventurous, and loved Marine had thought about killing himself so often that he had actually written a note while at work, went home, and got into an argument with his wife with suicide already as an escape route. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. He had been suffering inside of his own head for so long that he had a plan and the means.

Specific to the Marine Corps, multiple people get angry when their buddies kill themselves. “Why did he kill himself just because he got in trouble? Marines have gotten in trouble since the beginning of time; we were born in a bar and we kill people for a living, for crissakes!” Well, yeah, maybe. “He is just being a weak pussy; we would never have allowed hard times in the Corps to cause us to kill ourselves. Fucking pussies.” But decades ago, getting in trouble didn’t end your career like it does now. One slip up and you lose everything you’ve worked on for years, including education benefits, the ability to re-enlist, the respect of your peers, etc. There is no more “taking them to the tree line” and beating the shit out of a Marine to teach them a lesson before cracking open a beer and settling the issue. Marine discipline is conducted through paperwork, and paperwork has more lasting effects than a good beating in the woods.

To be faced with the utter destruction of your career and loss of respect after years of sacrifice is heart-wrenching for some Marines when all they wanted was to drink a beer after seeing their buddies blown apart in Iraq and Afghanistan and they were caught drinking underage, or perhaps they snuck a girl into the barracks to have some much needed sex and got caught and punished. “There is life outside of the Marine Corps.” Well, yeah, of course. But young Marines don’t seem to see life outside of the Marine Corps because that is all they know as an adult.

I’m angry about this Marine killing himself, but I am also not surprised. I am not surprised because at least once a month, someone I know kills themselves. Sometimes they are faces that I’ve seen and served with but don’t remember vividly. Other times, they are really close to me and I try so hard and yet not hard enough to keep them alive. The numbers are increasing and not just with combat veterans.

I think the main reason I’m so angry and bothered by his death is that I know what he was experiencing and yet I haven’t given in. I’m angry that I am continuing to suffer and he isn’t suffering anymore. I’m angry that when I get suicidal, it is like my brain is on fire, white hot with excruciating anger and disappointment and pain. I feel trapped in my own brain, smashing against the walls, screaming, and the only thing that calms me down is the thought of killing myself to end it. I’m angry because he gave in, while I just dance around it in my head. I am angry, and I am sad.

‘Till Valhalla, Marine.

Continue Reading In Chapter 14…