John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself,” but this was not true, not in Winston Brooke’s case, at least. He spent the majority of his days chipping away at the connection, until he was not “a piece of the continent, a part of the main,” as the poem suggested. He was born alone, lived his life apart from others, and would surely die in the same manner.
This did not mean that he hadn’t had encounters. He found love once and he fell completely head over heels. But she hadn’t fallen, neither head nor heel, so she departed, leaving him oh so utterly alone, thus cementing his decision to cut ties with anything remotely resembling society.
But even as an island, he still received reminders, things that washed up on the shore from the life he left behind; old love letters rolled tight in bottles, forgotten memories carved onto driftwood, secrets whispered into conch shells, and so many pieces of his broken heart that arrived every single day.
As he had no further need for these keepsakes, no need for companions, no need for rescue, Winston tossed the flotsam of his former existence back into the sea, and kept his island deserted and camouflaged from the notice of humankind.
Many years later, the infamous she, the breaker of his heart, rowed her boat ashore, after realizing her mistake and returning to make amends, found Winston’s desiccated remains. His independent island had become his silent grave, and now the acre upon acre of desolation and loneliness belonged solely to her, as the certificate of ownership changed hands.
Text and Audio ©2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys