There were many fellow passengers. Most seemed to be Westerners, but they had all types of faces. Once, on an overcast day with rough seas, a woman leaned on the railing and wept inconsolably. Her handkerchief, which she used to dry her eyes, was white. She wore a dress of printed cotton. When I saw her, I realized I was not the only one with sorrows.
One evening I went up on deck and was gazing alone at the stars. A Western man approached and asked if I knew anything of astronomy. I was thinking to escape my emptiness by ending it all. Astronomy was of no interest whatsoever. I didn't answer. He proceeded anyway to tell me about the seven stars at the crown of Taurus that make up the Big Dipper. Then he said that the stars and the sea were all works of God. Finally, he asked if I believed in God. I looked to the sky and didn't answer.
On one occasion I entered a salon. A young woman in a stylish dress had her back to me and was playing the piano. A tall and handsome man stood next to her and sang. His mouth looked incredibly large. The two of them, however, were oblivious to anything but themselves. They seemed unaware, even, that they were on a ship.
My feeling of emptiness grew greater with each passing day. Finally, I decided to end it all. One evening, in an hour when none were about, I mustered my courage and jumped. However, in that instant when my feet left the deck, when my connection with the ship was severed, life felt suddenly precious. But it was too late. Like it or not, I was falling toward the sea. It was a tall ship, and though no longer on board, my feet had not hit the water. However, there was nothing to grab hold of, so the water was coming. Drawing up my legs was of no avail. The color of the water was black.
The ship billowed its black smoke, as always, and steamed on. I knew with certainty now, for the first time, that it's best to stay on board, even when one can't know where the ship is going. Having attained this certainty, of no use to me now, I dropped silently, with infinite fear and regret, toward the dark waves.