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.
Leaving Being Uncomfortable Meeting Angels Turning it around
10 Cent Angel is about leaving – not the nostalgic adventure, but the one where staying would mean the death of spirit, destruction. This is the song for those who walked, or ran away, and who maybe looked back once or twice and kept going.
This is for those who want to go, who need to go, or who have considered it. If you understood the fuel behind the leaving, you might understand how it wouldn’t be as true if it had been done differently.
This song is also for those met along the path, who shared a part of the journey. Good company. Angels taking care of angels. Shelters in the storm. Those kind words, and unexpected generosity. Thank you.
And this is for the gossips left behind – the petty speculation and mean-spirited focus are part of the whole problem with humanity. Turn your mind to helping yourself and others.
And lastly this song for those who take advantage of others’ youth, innocence, and naivete – you never win, nor will you ever win.
Once upon a time, in a land caught outside of time, the sunless sky glowed and darkened, and glowed again. In a place where the saltless ocean ever gently lapped the rocky shores, and where the forest grew towering trees spaced well apart from one another. There in a cave tucked inside the stone cliffs along the water lived a tiny dragon. Her scales gleamed purple and blue even in the dim light of the rocky hollow she knew as home.
She had lost track of how long she had dwelled in this place, or how many times she had taken to wing to find others like herself. No matter how far she flew, or in which direction, she found more of the same: endless water lined with rocky cliffs, forest or plains empty of larger life forms. From the waters she found her sustenance, hunting the water creatures from the sky by diving down into the depths, and using her talons to capture her prey. Those swimming beings were mindless, or she had yet to find a way to communicate with them.
The forest was filled with small, furry animals which jumped, or climbed, or scampered through the trunks, capering over the mossy woodland floor. They were too small to spend too much time hunting. Although she did hunt them sometimes for amusement, she rarely caught them as agile as they were.
Sometimes at night, she would perch on the edge of the cliff, open her great jaws to let out a sonorous call, long and sorrowful, which seemed to carry her very heart out across the waters that she had never been able to cross. She wondered how she had ended up here, and could not remember. What purpose was there to swim and climb, and blunder through the woods? She did not know.
Always there was a faint recollection of the others. When she would see her reflection in the water, she could almost remember them.
When she slept, her eyelids closing in layer after layer, she dreamed of little lights winking in and out, off and on in the darkness. Against a blue, blue sky, there shone a brightness, a warm thing which would set her scales to sparkling and tingling, and she would roar and launch into that sky with a feeling of lightness. The answering roars of the others would ring in her ears, and she would wake to the dull glow, and the gentle lapping of the waters here in this desolate place.
Now she knew, somehow, that there was an answer to her fate. She knew that there was a detail missed, or overlooked, just there beyond what she could easily sense. Sometimes she set her mind to the task with a frantic passion, spending day after day flying, searching, daring, exploring, only to give up in frustration.
Today, she floated in the water on her back. Her wings were stretched out along the top of the water, and her long tail wove gently through the swells and troughs of the waves. Her back legs paddled slowly to keep her from approaching the rocks, while she examined her front talons for loose bits that had torn from her climb up the cliffs earlier that morning. Some small birds were diving in and around her, catching insects off the top of the water, using her as a place to rest and chatter in between dives. She could almost understand them.
As she floated there, she closed two of her eyelids. The first set didn’t change her vision, but they felt more comfortable to her when they were shut as she relaxed in the water. The other pair dimmed the light, and caused the birds and vegetation to appear in different colors, brighter and more defined. With that set, if they were closed at night, the whole little world would have a soft luminescence.
She heard something from far away, from inside her mind, from somewhere she could not locate. Her arms flailed, and her wings splashed. The birds took flight calling sharply at being dislodged. She began to sink, and roll. One of her wings began to wrap around her as her shoulder dipped deeper into the water.
She kicked her legs, and slashed her tail, trying to keep her head above the water. This was not the clean, open winged dive she used for hunting. This was a thrashing, splashing situation. Her nostrils closed against the water. Panic. More of her eyelids closed as she tried to unwind the wing binding her front talons. Her other wing extended up into the air, but a breeze had arisen, and it acted as a sail further turning her into the water.
“Where are you?”
She writhed in the water, twisting her long body, and finally got her wing unwrapped, and her head above the waves just in time to miss knocking her head onto the rocks. She grasped the stony outcropping, and began to climb up the cliff.
“I am here!” Her bellow echoed out over the water, along the shoreline.
The sound of the call was inside her. The sound of the call was around her.
There was a feeling, a pulling which compressed her at the same time it dislocated her.
All her eyelids closed.
“Are you an angel?” The small voice came from a large, soft creature with brown curling moss around her head.
“What’s an angel?”
“An angel has wings, and helps people.” said the large, soft creature.
“Maybe. Are you a people?”
“Do you need help?”
“I want to get these out…” A talonless appendage extended towards a smooth dead moss with a crystal stuck in it.
The tiny dragon climbed along the soft limb to examine the crystal. This was like nothing she had seen before, and the large creature had pulled her from the neverending place, and brought it to an end. She must be magic, the dragon thought. I should help her.
The dragon saw a curling spike enter into the dead moss, and set her talons to it. She twisted until it came free, then set to work on the next one, and the next. Each crystal she released, she placed into the palm of the soft creature who had freed her.
“What is going on here? How did these get out of the couch?” The voice rang loudly, and startled the tiny dragon.
“Hide!” The creature told her, so she crawled into the soft brown moss which wasn’t moss, and hid there.
The much larger creature took the crystals from the smaller large creature and pointed at the dead moss.
“Maybe an angel did it.”
“Oh, an angel, huh? Well, why would an angel take the cushion pins out of the couch?”
“Maybe the angel wanted to see what they were, and thought they were pretty.”
The larger creature began to twist the crystals back into the dead moss.
“Well, maybe the angel can just leave them where they are. They’re sharp you know, and you could get hurt by them.”
The larger creature left.
“It’s okay, you can come out now. Do you want to see my room?”
The tiny dragon didn’t know how she ended up here, but she knew she had finally found her home.