When My Bathtub Became Too Shallow

“As for myself, the wonderful sea charmed me from the first.” – Captain Joshua Slocum

    There may be a chilly lick in the air, but the waves bask in the dying sun’s rays, diving back and forth against the soaked wooden posts. All in a line, the tide itches to spread to the ropes that dangle, tossed from boats with little care. Ripples break across the surface of the waves like goosebumps, the movement of the hull rocking side to side with the familiar weight of thin legs and hesitant footsteps. The current curls around the stern, dancing the tango with its misplaced friends, and the air begins to taste of hesitancy. The final drop of the boat is smaller than the last, a small body trying to catch their balance, and each wave kisses the sides in welcome.

    Voices carry, small but sure, and a tune crackles through the speakers. The mast shakes with the effort of an elephant caught in a trap and vibrations sputter through the water as the motor swells to life. A surge of waves and noise renders everything to silence except the hummed voices through the speakers, and curiosity mixed with uncertainty blows with the breeze, the waves chirping happily. They know the feeling of a new set of feet, and they get acquainted with a new set of fingers after they fall over the edge, dipping into the waves’ jaws. Suddenly she looks behind her, the sight of land so much farther when you aren’t a part of it. Licking at her fingers and smiling up at her face, the tide is smug and she is in awe.

    The sail is unfolded and the mast exhales in relief, its wings finally able to spread in the bursting wind that will take to the sails and bring her faster through the waves.

    Her eyes watch out across the horizon, tiller grasped in her hands and the ripples of lake water push against the rudder, aimed for that little break in the trees on the island in the distance. It may look far, but soon the sun and moon are both kissing the horizon, old friends saying hello.

    The moon falls behind as it rises farther and farther in the sky, translucent and alone in the expanse of blue. The sun sets with the finality of the last beams of light streaking across her face, cutting her smile in half, eyes closed and nose tipped up toward the stars.

    When the sails are tamed back into their holsters, the spiders start to peek out from between the cushions and the waves start to cry out as the marina comes into focus. Panting and splashing onto the linoleum at her feet, the waves ride the wind. They are desperate to taste the land with her, gasping and thrashing until falling back into the natural pull of the swell.

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