There Andre was, sitting on his luxury soft blue towel, soaking in the last of the summer sun’s rays and enjoying the massaging feeling of the small white pebbles on his back. Routine would strike him sooner than he could expect and he was determined to make the most of every carefree moment he still had. When he got up to turn around – the secret to sunbathing is to roast on both sides equally – his eyes fell upon a glistening object at the water’s edge. At first, he thought it was a reflection that the waves had caused as they foamed ashore. He got up to quench his curiosity. It was a glass bottle. And yes, there was a message inside.
As Andre uncorked the storm-tossed bottle, he carefully unrolled the yellowish creased paper inside. It had four words scribbled on it in panic: “Help! SOS! In danger”.
Andre looked across the sea, towards the horizon. It was an unconscious act. Perhaps in his mind he believed he would have seen the shipwrecked letter-writer emerge and he could run (or rather swim) to his/her rescue. But there was nothing out there. The water was tranquil and not even a sailboat was apparent at the coastline.
Andre took out his tablet – because everyone has one form of technology or other available at all times, even at the beach – and began to search the news for shipwrecks. It took him a while, given the increased incidents of Middle Eastern migrants risking their very lives and abandoning everything in search of a better life in a new continent. But he finally found it. It was a small boat cramming 200 migrants. It had been found just hours after it sunk having completed over half of its perilous journey. All of its passengers, downtrodden humans just like everyone else, with a story of their own to tell if they could, men in their thirties and forties, women who seemed so much older than they really were and children who had had the innocence of their childhood stolen away from them, all perished at sea. All that remained as a reminder of their existence was this scrawny paper.
Andre got up. His holidays had just ended. He spent the rest of his time before returning to work, and as much free time as he had after that, volunteering in shelters and centres that were constructed especially for people who had nothing. Not necessarily for refugees who had come from afar, but even for people in his own country who were struggling to survive. A message in a bottle had changed his entire perspective. If he could have the same influence on someone else, imagine how much change could be brought about.
Also part of Daily Prompt: SOS