The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 1986 [Douglas Fraser]

the-story-of-a-shipwrecked-sailor-1Uncertain as to what to do, I decided to make an inventory of my belongings.
I wanted to figure out what I could count on in my solitude at sea.
First of all, I could rely on my watch, which kept perfect time,
and which I couldn’t stop glancing at every two or three minutes.
In addition, I had my gold ring, which I’d bought in Cartagena the year before,
and a chain with a medal of the Virgin of Carmen on it,
also purchased in Cartagena, from another sailor for thirty-five pesos.
In my pockets I had nothing but the keys to my locker on the destroyer
and three business cards I have been given at a store in Mobile
one day in January when I had gone out shopping with Mary Address.
Since I had nothing to do,
I read the cards over and over to distract myself until I was rescued.
I don’t know why the cards seemed like the messages in bottles
that shipwrecked sailors pitch into the sea.
I think if I had had a bottle at that moment
I would have put one of the cards into it, playing shipwrecked sailors,
just to do something amusing to tell my friends about in Cartagena.