3rd Rail Press_Kujira’s Lament Chapter 8_15Mar2020

Kujira’s LamentC
An Original Work of Fiction
By David G. Yurth

Draft: Nov. 18, 2012
C 2012 David G. Yurth
All Rights Reserved Holladay, Utah USA


Dino thought about her sometimes. Well, almost all the time lately. He still missed the intimacy they had shared. In his private moments alone, sitting on the patio late at night nursing a glass of scotch and sparkling water, he could still conjure up the smell of her hair, the scent of her skin, the inescapable magic in her eyes. She taught him how to connect directly into the energy fields of whales and dolphins. She took him there, into the sea, and showed him how to be with them over and over again until he mastered it. She induced a passion in him that had never abated.

In the 30 years since she died, he had dedicated every waking moment and all his resourcefulness to preserving what she had taught him to love. It all began the day they went for a sail in the Puget Sound and came upon a gray whale that was drowning. Entangled in miles of seine netting lost at sea by some Japanese trawler, she was gradually losing the battle, struggling to stay afloat so she could breathe. He had steered the yacht around the animal, slowly, for perhaps 30 seconds, so he could carefully assess the situation. After one complete transit, he ran to the foredeck, dropped the anchor and brought all 64 feet of the Wet Dreams to rest no more than fifteen yards from where she lay foundering.

In less than two minutes, they had donned neoprene scuba suits, masks, fins, and snorkels and strapped on their diver’s knives. Without a moment’s hesitation, as she had done so many times before, Miyoko jumped off the stern and began swimming towards the whale. Seconds later, he had joined her, carrying the heavy bolt cutter in one hand while he pulled himself towards her with the other. With a fury driven by their recognition of how exhausted the whale had become, they began cutting and slashing at the thick hemp and polystyrene ropes that encircled the huge beast. As they began to work, the whale seemed to relax. She let them work to set her free.

As she dove beneath the waves to cut away a web of netting that had virtually immobilized the whale’s right pectoral fin, Miyoko stopped short, caught in the gaze of a huge limpid eye. It followed her without blinking, steady and fathomless. The whale knows, she thought to herself. Somehow she knows.

They worked quickly, taking great care not to injure her. Great gashes had already been cut into the whale’s hide by the chafing of the ropes so that in several places she bled freely into the water. The danger of a shark attack on a crippled whale and anything else that was around it became a matter of increasing concern as time ticked by. Eventually, the netting began to fall away, slowly sinking, piece by piece, into the abyss. A cut at a time, a piece at a time, each deft stroke of their knives brought the whale a little closer to freedom. A little less mass dragging her down to death in the depths. When the last piece of netting finally gave way, she began to move her flukes with increasingly broader, stronger strokes. It took nearly 40 minutes for them to free the whale completely. As they finished, he motioned for her to move slowly away.

“Give her some room,” he said. He was gasping for breath now, muscles aching from the sustained effort of freeing this gargantuan creature. “She may be exhausted but she is still big enough to crush us both.”

Miyoko simply ignored him. She put her knife back into the sheath strapped to her leg and hung silently, motionless in the slowly undulating ocean. She watched with a vague sense of anticipation as the whale took one enormous breath, blew out a huge plume of water and mist, and began to gently rotate its massive body towards her.

Because he was more than 40 feet away he could only watch. Through years of long, sometimes tragic experience, he knew that this enormous traveler of the sea had only to open its maw to engulf her whole. But with the gentlest of motions the animal deliberately moved in front of her. The whale’s massive head softly nudged Miyoko’s chest and rested there for a moment. Barely a touch. A caress. A moment of such exquisite tenderness that Miyoko’s eyes instantly filled with tears. She felt it then, the singing sound that filled her being from inside out. It was transcendent, perfectly balanced, fully expressed. She had never felt anything like this before but she knew precisely what it meant.

He swam to her side, slowly, carefully, knowing that any sudden move could trigger an avalanche of catastrophic consequences now that the whale had been freed. As he entered the field, he felt it too, all of it. When he touched her arm a jolt of energy poured through him, so powerful that it completely took his breath away. It was an astonishingly beautiful moment. They were joined together there, all of creation focused on this single moment in this special place. As quickly as it had begun, the moment passed. The whale backed away and cruised slowly past them both. From just beneath the water they could see its huge eye looking searchingly at them. Silent. Aware. Grateful.

When they had left the water and climbed back onto the boat, he and Miyoko could not take their eyes off the slowly receding whale. Thirty, forty, then fifty yards at a stroke, breathing easily and lazily making her way, the whale eventually merged with the sea and was gone. When they could see the whale no longer, she took his hand in hers, lifted it to her lips and gently kissed his fingers, one at a time. Without saying anything at all, she led him down the gangway and into the salon.

He had kept this memory a secret for a long time. As he sat there under the stars, looking out over the water, he realized that the day when he would have to cross over to another life was not far distant. The prospect of it thrilled him. He had worked so hard, been so diligent, maintained so many powerful secrets for so long that it was becoming more difficult with each passing day to maintain the mask of his public persona. He was the keeper of secrets soon to be let loose on the world.