photo/ Penny K. Sherman
He put me off the boat. He said he would do it, and he did it. I was both fuming and relieved. Bye-bye, Ace, bye-bye.
Every Saturday, during the summertime, Ace sailed in the regatta off Fire Island. He was a mild mannered doctor in his real life, even tempered, with the ability to nod his head in agreement in a professorial way that honored your opinion. But when he set foot on anything that sailed, the Queen Mary, or a raft, his transformation was as rapid and complete as if he was Lon Chaney, Jr. turning into the Wolfman. Or Captain Bligh, till the race was won.
The first rule of our engagement was, sailing first. Food, clothing and shelter later. I adjusted. It was still the old days, when I was sort of the little wifey. Sure, Ace, you can sail today. I'll just shop. After all a river isn't running through Saks Fifth Avenue. Water, nay, terra firma, yay.
Then Ace, beyond all reason, invited me to join him for a little jaunt around Great South Bay. Despite the tears that were beginning to form in the corners of my eyes in fear and loathing, Ace insisted that this was a safe day, that even I, landlubber that I was, would really enjoy and finally share in his love of salt water. If I began to love salt water, it would most likely take the form of a mouth wash and a gargle.
Cajoled by a suddenly emerging sweet talker, I tossed all cliches to the wind, agreed that, "what could possibly go wrong on such a gorgeous day"?
Having coasted along all my life as a complacent and compliant person, I managed to keep hidden even from myself my magical powers to control weather. No sooner had we sailed into drowning depth, than a tinge of grey appeared overhead. A cloud? On a day such as this? And from where comes this unremitting breeze? I accused Ace of a nefarious plot. A tale befitting Alfred Hitchcock was brewing!
He called me an albatross, and upon reflection, as I tightened my water wings, I sort of remembered a couple of other times when I had the power of Circe. Don't mess with a myth.
Ace sailed toward shore into wading depth, and raised his voice above the roar of the oncoming tempest. He made me walk the plank, soak the edge of my hip-huggers. I waved my espadrilles above my head to signal help. The wind drowned out my cries of accusation. No one came to the rescue.
This is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Thanks to Short Story Slam 4 for the inspiration!
copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2011