Our Friend is Dead

His mouth tries to carve the words into the air between us. Though mute, I still understand him. He pushes a peanut around. It looks like a tiny, shiny distorted skull. Salt crystals gather at the end of his fingers; some fall upon the wooden table top.
Behind his eyes, a process of decoding. Working out what has happened.
I take his hand and close my fingers around it. He looks up at me, startled; lost in space and just barely able to recognise my face.
Then, a smile.
Out on the bay, a few boats return from the channel with empty nets.
He covers his eyes with his free hand, and cries quietly and steadily.
The sun doesn’t know. The sea is indifferent.
Our friend is dead.


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