The grief and fear stops here, with me. I will hold it back from him. I will make sure my son never needs to carve himself into bones. I will tell him of the man who should have been my father, and I will tell him all I have learned about love.
It was not lost on me, as I slipped the canvas monkey belt around my waist, how easy it would be for the sailor at the other end of the rope to lose his grip. How little it would take to send me plunging into the sea to join the sharks and the swirls of blood.
I should tell you about the tryworks. In the processing of a whale, we must render the oil on the ship by way of boiling. The Drum, my whaling ship, was fitted with two large iron pots, which would in the course of processing be filled near to the brim with boiling, bubbling oil.
Because now I could hear her voice, the whale, telling me she wanted to go home. I could hear the soft lapping of the black water against the hull. I was thinking again of my home on land, and of my inevitable death at sea.
Ironically, I think it was the quality of my work that drove him to the edge. He had been watching me, waiting so long for me to fail, and my success was so infuriating, that he decided, finally, to kill me.