As Are We All

Chris Gamble, Yellowknife
Northern Writes 7, Entries from the 1999 NWT
Writing Contest

A thin smile momentarily spread itself across David’s blistering lips as the first rays of sunlight crept over the jagged horizon. He breathed a frosty sigh through his ice-encrusted scarf.

“There you are, my friend,” he whispered quietly in a Scottish accent, his words stolen by the wind as it blew across the snowy deck. Reaching out his hand, as though to touch the sun, he could almost feel its warmth, searing the coldness away. The coldness. How he hated it. The unending coldness that left him frozen to the soul, like everything here. But to feel the sun again, he thought, to feel its comforting warmth, like a long awaited hug… it was one of the few dreams that could still survive in his frozen shell of a body.

“You can almost feel it, can’t you?” Rather angry at himself for having such foolish thoughts, David dropped his outstretched arm and turned to see who had addressed him.

“Surgeon Dale, I’m surprised to see you out here,” was his muffled response, recognizing his voice rather than his face. The doctor was bundled tightly in several layers of clothing, with a scarf similar to David’s wrapped around much of his face.

“Mind if I join you?” David shook his head, “No.” Few of the crew were on friendly terms anymore and any companionship the doctor could offer was most welcome.

Trudging across the deck in worn leather boots, he took a seat next to David at the bow of the ship. He sat with a sigh, as though finally relieving a burden that he had been carrying on his shoulders for days. Saying nothing, he looked out over the horizon. The wind quickly worked its way through his layers of clothing, though the doctor seemed to pay little notice.