August 11, 2010
August 11, 2010
Blue’s a good sport.
The boat waits in the garage, stacked high on the trailer and shoved into a corner (her mother’s design). Aluminum glistens in the dark and Jane doesn’t bother turning a light on as she approaches Blue. She’s always known her way around her dad’s garage. Deftly, she dodges tackle boxes and beer cans and large bricks meant for a later project.
She wraps a hand around the boat’s side. Blue doesn’t creak. It doesn’t so much as move. It just lets her enter without a fight.
Jane climbs, saddling its perimeter. One long leg gets propped on the boat’s trailer wheel for a quick boost, the other swinging inside to steady itself on the mangled blue carpeting the boat houses. After regaining her bearings, Jane grabs the steering wheel, pulling her whole body in. She lands hard on the floor, cracking her elbow. She stays there. The smell of old fish and dried worm dirt permeates her nose. But instead of pulling away, she lowers her face close to the boat’s dirty carpet and inhales deeply, letting the smell sink into her every pore.
She kisses it.
Her dad would have laughed seeing her like this. Called her Janey and patted her head in the condescending way she loves. He means nothing by it; dad was old-school. But he’s not around anymore so she does what she wants.
Jane screams. It’s loud, the sound echoing in the cavernous garage. This time the noise she makes in the boat will not scare away the fish, like her dad so often warned.
On knees and elbows, Jane straightens up, smoothing her black dress out with quick precision. She seats herself in the captain’s chair, grabbing a fishing pole and practicing a perfect cast. There’s a rusted hook on the end of the line, the last her father threaded. An unopened bag of sunflower seeds and a grungy baseball cap left resting in the bottom of the boat complete the man.
Jane reaches a hand out, caressing the boat’s side, the chipped paint and cracked aluminum stinging her palm. When her fingers reach the lettering near the bow, they trace the name stenciled in block letters: BLUE. It’s got four seats and a wheel and it’s faithful as hell, her father used to say.
Blue’s hers now.