The harbor is spiked with masts of the vessels which have gathered under the low grey clouds. I am out on the edge in my small boat pulled up next to another. We are talking about where to tether our boats deeper into the bay, closer to shore. He says he will meet me there at the red boat. Do I see it?
In the gap between a large white boat, and a smaller grey boat, I can see almost to the shore. There is a mysterious natural wood boat, darkened with age and layers of pitch which catches my eye before the sleek, sharply rising hull of the red boat swings into view. The smooth water is lapping quietly between us as conversations and the occasional shout drift out over the water.
Go there he says, and I take up my paddle to thread through the anchor ropes and towering sides.
The red boat with the white surface has people sitting on the top when I pull up alongside. Three people are sitting out on top, and I greet them. May I tie up here? I ask them. The red haired man doesn’t turn his head my way, and the brunette woman is gazing off the other side of the boat. A younger man in shorts hops up and takes my rope. Come aboard, he said. There’s food in the galley.
Down in the galley, a dark haired woman with straight shoulder length hair which swings as she moves, is sweeping the floor. The broom and her hair seem to be dancing to the music playing. I don’t see the source of the sweet sounds, and thumping drums, and she’s talking as she moves in and around the others.
“The thing is he’s said the same things to me as he says to all the women. So, each one believes they are the only one he’s interested in, even though he tells us he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. We don’t believe him. We fill in the blank spaces with our stories. He seems so interested, attentive, and focused on us, and we want so desperately to believe that our devotion will bring him around…”
The man in shorts hands me a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. His bright eyes crinkle when he smiles and points out a spot at the table for me. I thank him, and sit next to a woman overflowing her brightly colored sundress. Her hair is pulled back, and from her ears dangle circles within circles of shaped wooden earrings. She has tossed her head back and is laughing loudly before leaning forward on an elbow, and pointing her toast at the sweeper.
“Aye, he told me the same just yesterday. And you’re the fool as much as me, and that cantina woman too. But none of us will give him up, either.”
The eggs are almost well cooked, a little soft for my liking, but the flavor is good, and the toast buttered.
I am listening and waiting, and wondering when he will get here. Is their him, my him? Am I a fool as well, I wonder as I swallow the last bite of bacon.
A mug of coffee is set down by my empty plate, and then the plate is taken away. I turn to see who took my plate, but all I see is the back of a green dress with curls cascading down it.
The hustle and the bustle of the kitchen had been soothing. Clatter of plates and forks, and laughter to music, and conversation of people well acquainted, but I feel the shift as well as hear it when every sound becomes sharper, and the colors brighten and the light dims. I drink a sip of my coffee, and then take the mug and stand up, a stranger looming in the center of this space. No one glances at me now.
I go back out onto the deck. Already the dark has crept in across the water. I stand at the railing, and listen to the harbor. I listen to the sounds of the bay as they soften. I see a lantern lit, and shadows set about on distant decks as they prepare for night. Someone off to the shoreside begins to play a flute.
I wake up in comfort, surrounded by white sheets, blankets, walls. The wood trim around doors and windows have been white washed. The bed is soft and firm, and the pillow thin the way I prefer. I stretch and wonder where I am, and how I got here. I note the lack of anxiety, and think maybe I should feel more concerned, but the door opens, and a woman in a white dress, blonde hair upswept enters with a dark wooden tray which she sets bedside.
She sits on the edge of the bed and pulls down my covers. I watch to see what she will do, and she says, “I would encapsulate your capillaries.”
Now, I feel concerned and sit up asking her, “What does that even mean?”
She is pouting, and beginning to melt. I hear car doors, and the walls of the room fall away into blackness.
The comforting slats of this futon beneath me, I awaken more fully. Thinking of boats on the water, and wondering about the hearts gathered in the harbor ready to sail, I rise to make the coffee.