When I grow up and have fancy things, I’m going to own a boat. She’s going to have a big wide turquoise band around her near the rails and a shiny red hull. She’ll have at least two masts and a bowsprit extending out to hold her foresail.
She’ll have white sails and a wooden deck and a big huge wheel and I’ll name her Wonder. I’ll have someone carve the likeness of Wonder Woman into the figurehead. It may sound tacky, but it will be discrete and understated. Tongue and cheek. She’ll be bad-ass.
26 Miles Across the Sea
When we departed for Catalina Island on Friday, we didn’t actually see the island for several hours because of the marine layer. We arrived at night, narrowly missing the closing hours at the Harbor Reef restaurant. So I cooked us up a meal of Korean rice cakes, flank steak, seared broccoli, onions and Brussels sprouts. We drank beer and went to bed exhausted and happy the way sailors are after sailing at a reach for six and a half hours in 15-20 knots of wind.
A few weeks earlier, my friend Amy emailed me. She had just returned from a sailing trip in the BVIs. “Seriously,” she asked, “What are the odds we could sail away in the fall?” It’s not that I don’t think about sailing away. (All the time.) But I told her the chances were next to nil. I have bills to pay, and very little savings.
Then it happened, this past weekend, like it always does. That feeling came over me. The way I imagine cold feet must feel on your wedding day. The feeling that says: Hey, here’s your chance! Don’t think too hard about it. Don’t use logic. Sail away! Sail. Away. Now.
It’s the same feeling that came over Amy. The sea call. It happens almost every time the sails go up.
On Saturday we made our way along the island’s coastline to Avalon where we took our mooring amid the weekend chaos. We spent all afternoon on the boat, drinking beer and talking. When it got too hot, we jumped into the 64-degree sea. I made pitas for dinner with leftover flank steak and falafels and in the evening we rowed ashore and had a drink at one of the restaurants facing the harbor.
When we left Avalon Sunday morning, you couldn’t see the mainland. It was like we had sailed to some place outside of time and had been floating off in the clouds somewhere all weekend.
We returned to the Marina del Rey around sunset. Like all returnings, it was tinged with regret. We didn’t sail away. We didn’t disappear off the maps.
When I got home, I took out my braids. I stood for a long time under the hot shower. I put lotion on my sunburnt lips. I fell asleep in a big queen-sized bed without any fear of falling out of it.
When I awoke, I knew I had been dreaming of my boat, her red hull searing through an unknown ocean.