Terrill’s father Willan, whom Terrill calls Da, is terminally ill and on the way to the ocean. When he reaches it, he will, as dying Vushla do, swim or wade in and let the water dissolve him. Various relatives, including Terrill, and a few friends or neighbors are escorting Willan on this final journey. The interview presumably takes place during a rest stop. Willan’s voice is weak and his speech halting.
Q. What can you tell me about your life?
A. Where to start . . . . I have a mate, Lilit, and three children. The youngest, Terrill, is over there. The older ones work in cities and couldn’t get home in time. I don’t have much time, I think.
Q. Is Lilit here?
A. No. We said goodbye at home. Most mates do. Dragging things out . . . would have hurt her more. And she’s never been much for traveling.
Q. What work did you do?
A. I did a lot of teaching, teaching children. In our town and nearby. Most ages. I like teaching. And people seem to think I have a gift for it. [a pause] And I make things. Different things. Sandals – lots of sandals. Many people in our town wear my sandals. Boxes, with carved designs. I like carving. [a pause] And I made one hand harp. I’d have made more, I think, if I’d had time.
Q. If you don’t mind my asking, what are your thoughts about the end of this journey? About swimming out to sea?
A. [a quiet sigh] That it’s a little soon. I’ve had a good life. I would have liked it to have lasted a little longer. [a pause] But it’s all right. Good things come to an end. [a small smile] And I like to learn new things. I’ve been to the ocean, and to funerals, but this is the only way I can learn about going into the waves. What it feels like. What the ocean sounds like from the inside. Whether there’ll be anything to see.
I’m not afraid, really. I’ve never heard of anyone struggling or crying out in pain.
I wish my children and Lilit didn’t have to grieve, and to reshape their lives. Terrill – he’s too young for this. . . . He always looked forward to that first trip to the sea, with the friends of his year. He had so many plans for it. I’m sorry he’s had to trade those plans for this.
[Terrill starts heading toward Willan as the other Vushla move back toward their cycles]
We’ll be going on now. And I should save my voice and my strength for talking to my son.
No need to wait for the October 17th release -- the book is available for preorder from Amazon and several other retailers.