There is no longer a tiny ship waiting for me. No sails to mend, no rigging to tune, no bottom to clean. I’m more efficient at work, no longer distracted by fretting about wind and tides, planning the next adventure. Chart #18441 (which covers the southern Salish Sea) has long since been rolled up, collecting dust in a storage unit at the marina. The sound of the bow crashing through waves, the risk of going forward untethered to clear a fouled jib sheet, and the satisfaction of bringing a sailboat back safely to a slip singlehanded are all memories now, fading quickly with time.
To pile on, summer is long gone. Darkness comes early these days, and a quiet gray is creeping in, subtle but persistent. I still go walk the beach sometimes, but the sand is cold, and now I wear shoes. The soles of my feet are becoming soft, muscles are disappearing, and my palms are pasty. Frankly I’m getting fat. The new Monday through Friday work routine is really sealing the deal, and this is having the same dulling effect on the inside. Slowly but surely life is becoming comfortable. The rainy days of autumn are quiet, peaceful in a way, thoughtful, and soft. The only new excitement is my Swedish friend.
It’s late at night, and the rain pitter patters on the window. My energy is spent. I lie on my stomach, legs loosely tangled in a sheet, staring at the flickering candle by the bedside. Her fingertips softly trace my body, like warm little raindrops down my back. Without a word she hands me something. It’s a birthday card, a card and a chocolate bar actually. The chocolate makes me smile, but the card is a stunner. It’s a tiny watercolor of a little yellow Flicka, with tanbark sails no less. As usual she’s really not aware of how much these little gestures mean. I say thank you (a lot), blow out the candle, and lie wide awake drifting on a sea of memories as she quietly drifts off to sleep.