I survived 227 days. That’s how long my trial lasted, over seven months.
Either I tamed him, made him see who was Number One and who was Number Two—or I died the day I wanted to climb above the lifeboat during rough weather and he objected.
Despair was a heavy blackness that let no light in or out. It was a hell beyond expression. I thank God it always passed. A school of fish appeared around the net or a knot cried out to be reknotted. Or I thought of my family, of how they were spared this terrible agony. The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving.
And so, in a moment of insanity brought on by hunger—because I was more set on eating that I was on staying alive—without any means of defence, naked in every sense of the term, I looked Richard Parker dead in the eyes.
My agency was pure and miraculous,. It conferred power upon me. Proof: I remained alive day after day, week after week. Proof: he did not attack me, even when I was asleep on the tarpaulin, Proof: I am here to tell you this story.