The Vessel

Amphibious Assault Ship, USS Tripoli, LPH-10. Photo Credit: US Navy.

She wasn’t beautiful to some, but she had many lovers in her lifetime and they thought her beautiful. She had accepted them, taken them in, loved them, accepted their gifts, sent them away.

She sailed west with the tide one morning. A pregnant lady bursting with excitement and impatient to birth the force within her womb. To birth them across the sea and into troubled waters.

Seeded months earlier, she had grown used to the growth inside and the movement and rearrangement, the kicking, the pain, the throbbing. The urge for release. The moods. They were always hungry and she sat heavier and heavier as she took on the nourishment they needed.

Oddly, they didn’t make her angry, or sad, or regretful. Only impatient to release her burden so she could bask in the glory of their purpose.

She had trained for this looming release her entire life. She was built for it. Her build a miracle of intelligent design. Her brain among the most complex that ever lived. Her defensive reflexes lethal and quicker than thought. Her steel nerves had deterred many determined advances.

Pregnant ladies before her had set the standard, set it high, before the helping hands of modern methods had eased the process. They had done it the hard way, with pain, much pain. Some had died with the pain. Some had died before giving birth, while giving birth, after birth. Some of their children had not returned.

That was the hardest part to bear. The ones who didn’t return. She could take almost any pain, would spare no effort to protect them, would die for them. A piece of her died for every child who never returned to her.

Soon, sooner than she had hoped, the time arrived. Troubled waters surrounded her. The land was dark. She was tense and fear of the unknown, fear for her children, enveloped her. But the process couldn’t be stopped. The birthing always went on.

She let them go. They flew away, burdened with the baggage that eventually accompanied every birth. Burdened with weapons for survival, trained to think and react. Taught to overcome every obstacle. She had done her best for them, given them everything she had. Now it was up to them. They were freed from her confines.

Some of those she had previously birthed, who survived all they had faced, returned to her. She loved when they returned, although the visits were too brief. She cherished each visit, each word, each one she held.

She had sailed west on the tide one morning. A pregnant lady bursting with excitement and impatient to birth the force within her womb. To birth them across the sea and into troubled waters.

She had done that. She had performed her purpose exactly as designed. Had watched her children leave her, their own lives before them. Into the unknown where they would seek to fulfill their destinies.

She would wait for them, impatient for their return. Some would return, come home to the nest. Some would return whole, some wounded. Some with visible wounds, others with wounds that hurt from the inside. All, though, would forever bear scars as reminders.

She would take them in, hold them, love them even more, if that were possible, while she healed them. Some would never heal.

Others she would never hold again.

USS Tripoli, LPH-10. Vietnam-bound Marines. Photo Credit: US Navy.

3 thoughts on “The Vessel

    1. I read recently that Sailors were advised to stop calling ships She or Her.
      There’s a long history behind the use of those feminine terms and others including Mothership.
      I thought I’d address the controversy my way.

      Liked by 1 person

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