I lay behind my back, before the boat, and into darkness I must row. I rowed with weak arms, watching my hands to make sure I kept hold of the oars, for I could not feel my grip. I came thus into rough water and the dark, out on the open Gulf. There I had to stop. With each oarstroke the numbness of my arms increased. My heart kept bad time, and my lungs had forgotten how to get air. I tried to row but I was not sure my arms were moving. I tried to pull the oars into the boat then, but could not. When the sweet light of a harbour patrol ship picked me out of the night like a snowflake on soot, I could not even turn my eyes away from the glare.

They unclenched my hands from the oars, hauled me up out of the boat, and laid me out like a gutted blackfish on t

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