It was a night with no moon, quite dark to be sure, but I would not have thought it particularly ominous. As we drove towards the coast, our headlights provided the only illumination. Yellow dashes swept past my side of the car, and the solid white stripe slipped along(more) that of my wife. Tree trunks and brush lined the highway, rearing up suddenly out of the darkness and then disappearing just as fast, as we made our way through the mountains.
We had won a short excursion on a boat, in a raffle at a company party, and had hastened to make arrangements for that very weekend. It was not like us at all, but my dear wife's excitement at the prospect was too much to bridle. So it was that we found ourselves sailing through the crisp night air.
We had stopped at a cafe just before entering the forest, in hopes of obtaining some hot coffee to keep our spirits and senses from flagging. The hours posted indicated that they should have been open still, but strangely they were not. An adjoining gas station was similarly dark.
The reception was quite poor in the mountains, so my wife had turned off the radio; and we chatted about childhood visits to the beach. We had reached the very crest of the hill where the road would begin it's descent towards the sea, when a great shadow stepped out of the trees and into our path.
I swerved to avoid hitting it dead on, but I pulled the wheel too far, and the car went careening into a tree. I was thrown violently into the dashboard. As I lifted my head I found I could open only one eye, but with it I saw the shaggy beast lumbering towards us.(less)
Abigail wrung her hands. A gull keened above her head, reminding her to take a breath of salt-spray air. Men shouted and tossed lengths of rope. The preparation of the great, dark gangplank took years.
(more) Before, she'd looked down on the wives and lovers that waited at the docks for their husbands to disembark. Wharf widows, she'd heard them called, lined up like ninepins waiting for the goddess of the sea to bowl them over with what she chose to return.
Now she stood with them and their cracked, weary faces and woodwork hands.
From years of wringing.
The ship spilled forth its crew at last; most busied themselves with the ship's cargo or their own provisions. All around Abigail, the wharf widows smiled or sighed or dabbed at tears but did not move.
They'd learned to wait a few moments more.
There was a shout, what might have been some part of her name--and then there he was, jumping off the last few feet of gangplank, dropping his duffel and running toward her. She hoisted her own cargo of skirts and matched pace with him. They crashed together, teetering on the slick wood but not tumbling. She could hear him laughing and herself sobbing; the salt in his shirt stung more than her tears.
She took him all in at once, counting the limbs to see that he was whole. He was tanned like never before, his hair long and pulled back into a small queue. The hands that cupped her face were rough, but the warm brown eyes that met hers were the same.
She hugged him, clutching his shirt as if to rip it away from him, tainted as it was from his affair with the sea goddess.
I swear there's a rubberband holding my lungs tight together forcing heart to work for it lifting shoulders up up hugging my ears so that at the end of the race shoulders and neck are more sore than anything
this isn't(more) even a race, and still i hear coach saying "relax your shoulders. breathe"
this isn't even running, legs churning under me like butter
one day that rubberband will snap and i'll have to learn how to breathe from scratch. i wonder if it'll be like learning how to walk with false legs.
one day i'll get in Andy Sandburg's boat and sail the cardboard seas.