A soft thudding wakes him from his uncomfortable sleep. He rolls on his side to investigate the noise. An empty plastic canister, the type that might carry petrol or water is bumping against his raft. He hasn’t seen or heard anything since he left the island except for the horizon and the deep sky, mirrored on the ocean, and he had not wanted to.
He had chosen the island for his holiday in the hope that he would find silence there, an escape from the loudness that surrounds him in his daily life. Honking horns, loud mouthed people, music, bright lights, all attacking his senses.
He had found no solace at the island. The brochure had promised calm beaches, but their was a family of abrasive Americans who seemed to make it their mission to track him daily. He attempted to hide from them in his room, but the fan, my god the fan! No fan should make such noise. Whirring and clicking all day and night, and if he turned it off it was even worse, a noise like ratchet.
He tried to complain at the desk, but those Americans were there, their youngest son screaming and wailing that the sun was too hot. He had left the hotel, deciding to go on a long walk. The long walk had led him away from the beaten path, had led him past the beach bathers and the sea waders to exactly what he wanted, though he could never have imagined it himself. If he had been asked, he supposed he would have dreamed of a cave, a quiet spot away from everything, but this was even better. He found a raft.
Now, on board the raft, adrift at sea for the last few hours, the silence now only disturbed by this rogue canister. He pulls it onto the raft, and giving it a gentle shake hears something rattle inside. He quickly unscrews the cap and peeks inside. He sees a small crab, curled up in one corner. He can feel the heat from the side of the canister, and is unsure whether this lonely creature has been cooked alive or is merely awaiting judgement from its savior.
He upturns the canister and the crab falls onto the deck of the raft. He cups his hands and dips them into the sea, and this way he buckets salty water onto the prone creature. Waiting, the sun beats down still on them. The crab stretches out a claw, grips the worn wood of the deck and pulls itself to an upright position. Pausing for a moment it stretches its legs and clicks its pincers together. It scuttles to the side of the raft, and without a pause runs off the edge.
Now sitting on the empty canister, watching the space the crab had just vacated, he considers the life of a crab, he considers life in a canister and he considers life under the sea as he sails on on his raft.