This article is taken from Stand 221, 17(1) March - May 2019.

Clara Ng Out to Sea; Tale of the Tongue
Translated by Toni Pollard
Out to Sea

Thirty-nine years of age is the right age to fall in love. So you think when you see a seagull cross the sky.
In Marciles the smell of fish is everywhere as the fishermen haul in their nets from the sea. A lithe-bodied man jumps off one of the fishing boats which has a tall mast and fluttering sails. His sunburnt skin is the colour of cinnamon. Like a fast-moving cat he slips among the barrels of squid. He’s not tall but is likely to grow taller in the years to come.
You watch him from a distance. You can’t stop thinking about the past. It was Tuesday, seventy-nine hours ago, in weather just like now, when you last kissed behind the lighthouse. He kissed your lips and you kissed his until you gasped for breath. The sky was heavy with portending rain, but there was no hint yet of rain in the air. Wind carrying the smell of the ocean came from his lips. See the snail clinging to the wall of the lighthouse, next to an even smaller one. They stand out in contrast to the greyness of the sky. Maybe they are a couple like the two of you.
He gazes at the sea, frowning. Perhaps he’s making a plan for you, for him. To interrupt your musings you ask him his age. Since you first met you’ve already asked him this same question twice, making it seem as if you’d ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image