Another savage yank on the starter cord, and the motor sputters, coughs, chugs like an old guy in a Wisconsin outhouse, gives a final explosive fart and stalls. The damn snow-blower is obviously not going to start this time, and I’m going to have to face the 12 inches of snow on my own power.
But before I grab the shovel and slog through blowing snow in my man-sized Sorels, before succumbing to blindness from ice freezing on my glasses, before throwing my back out from throwing snow on ever-heightening drifts on hills that rise on either side of the driveway, I need to take a moment. I close my eyes.
It’s dark, pre-dawn and quiet, except for rumbling snores from my parents in the rear cabin, and thick breathing from my allergic-to-everything brother in the berth next to me. The sailboat rocks and turns slowly on its anchor, and a light breeze blows across the cockpit and rolls through the main cabin. The wind picks up and carries a light misting rain through the main hatch, and I can finally pull a sheet over my body and feel comfortable. The sheet grows damp and soothes my Caribbean sunburn, and I finally fall asleep.
I wake to a fresh morning, before the heat of the day, and pull on my bikini. The rest of the family is up, my parents bowed over cups of coffee. My brother scrounges the galley for cereal and one of the bananas sold to us the day before, by the young boys who row out to the tourists’ sailboats to sell fruit they’ve picked themselves. They are grateful for a cup of water from our supply, preferring that to the cans of soda we tourists would prefer. Truly a different world.
Up on the foredeck, I clear the safety lines and poise with my toes curled around the toe-rail. A few clouds, remnants of the night’s shower, drift away over the horizon. The palms and banana trees, brilliant green tufts, stand back from a shining beach of black sand, that held a private steel drum concert the evening before. The ocean sparkles emerald clear below me, small fish sway far beneath the surface. I grasp my nose and step forward for a morning bath.
I open my eyes and the snow is still blowing, the night setting in and the temperature dropping. But it’s not as bad as it seemed just a little while earlier.
Liz Husebye Hartmann
Pam Brittain’s Prompt: Write a story, picture essay or poem about the sea. A warm, lovely sea.