The buoy sighed listlessly amongst the slow, breaking waves. Inanimate. Real.
Each washed away the foamy residue of the one before it like clockwork.
The man watched them roll over one another, crashing into nonexistence on the dark sand in a suicide of surf.
He listened as the sea hissed along the shoreline and lapped playfully at the sides of the mossy pier legs;
and gulls yelped, and flew in low circles in the distance above a fishing boat that rocked in solitude in the vast, dark water.
There was only sea.
It stretched out to the horizon and seemed to pour off the edge of the earth.
The sun was beginning to set, and the man felt the cool wind flow over him.
It rustled his thin coat.
Swept a few long strands of damp grey hair across his brow.
Explored his thinning beard.
Grains of sand.
Carried on the breeze like minuscule passengers, they pecked at his bare ankles.
He dug his heels deeper into the damp sand.
The wind grabbed lazily at the letter in his hand.
The man tightened his grip.
He watched as the wind touched the tips of the long grass along the edge of the beach
until his eyes began to strain.
The island sat alone like the small fishing boat; its coast was laced with dark.
Sandy beaches and the mainland; a mixture of thick brown grass and dark heather,
they stirred as the winds swept over them.
It was home to only a few, and they lived in small, squat houses that were once white.
Now their paint had been bitten away by the constant sea winds
carrying crystals of sand and salt and they stood a murky grey, their windows clouded and pale like cataracts.
The man looked at his own home from where he sat. Back at the waves. Back at the buoy.