To begin with – for the first few years at least – it had seemed endearing. A comfort perhaps. No longer would the biting wind whistle through his peeling shell, or the saltwater lap with an increasing intensity through his widening cracks. Not with her there to lean against him, shoring up between him and the relentless tide. Her slender (yet reassuringly solid) frame had settled against his with a sigh; an exhalation that spoke of years passed out on the open sea, flung and pitted and tossed between quayside and harbour, wave and whirlpool, and all the torrid spaces in between. Her scars spoke of storms, her wrung-out ropes relayed tales that mirrored his. No longer ships that passed in the night; he finally had someone to dock with.
As time passed, they succumbed to the elements together. They sank into the sand as their sea legs slowly slipped away from them and the bay took over. Limpets clung to them like a new (ancient) skin, rust bloomed from every pore and a thick crust of salt and seaweed slime enveloped itself around them. He could feel the belly of her bloat into his as she began to lean on him more heavily, both of them creaking under the shared strain.
He wondered how much longer this could last. He began to dream of a final storm – one big strike, one powerful gust, one final wave – that could finish them off together. He imagined them as driftwood, floating back out to sea – entwined, tangled, flailing, apart, lost once again to the pull of the ocean: indistinguishable as the boats they used to be.