Is it selfish to be this young, with this much life to live and to sit on this dock every evening as the sun disappears, looking out to sea and to be so completely tempted by the endlessness of it? To yearn for the absolution of nothingness. The water, high above my ears, roaring through my body. They say in those moments, your body chooses to fight, chooses life over anything else. Even if life means pain, uncertainty, even if life has gripped you by the shoulders and held on too tight and you lay slack in its wake.

Eleanor came to me, delivered by the arms of the ocean on a white-hot February afternoon. Perhaps it is no coincidence that she should come to me this way, a distant speck framed by the sky, moving ever forward, into my life.

Suppose it was a look, as she came down the walkway off the ship. Tall and dark, elegant. A lady. I can’t say that she did look at me then, and if she had, was it just a look one gives when passing by? When one is so immersed inside themselves that faces, voices all come and go with a blur. Am I just a fool to think there was something charged between us, that her manner, which minutes earlier had been without life, had suddenly become buoyant? Whatever the case, in those first moments, she had come and gone so swiftly I’d have just as quickly convinced myself she had never come at all.

Eleanor’s arrival would not stop the rush, the roaring gasp for air that would take hold of me in the darkest hours of night, the hours in which the light seemed no closer or further away. For I did not even know her then. But I knew that I needed to know her, that I would know her.