Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Tales: Not Today

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The water lapped against the side of the boat as I came to the dock on the island. It was quiet this morning. Fishing season was over, and it was still early.  The only one stirring was me, and perhaps the lone seabird that flew overhead. I tied the boat to the dock, picked up the box and leapt onto the dock.  My girl scout days were long over, but it would hold. Probably.

canoe tied upWalking up the path toward the bluffs, I shivered when the morning sea air whipped through the sweater I'd thrown on.  Something I'd found in the attic. The trees seemed to whisper to me, "Go back. Not here. Not today." Didn't they know it had to be here, had to be today? I was to leave tomorrow. It had to be today.

As I topped the crest of the hill, my breath caught as it did every time. From the top, you could look across the sea.  On a clear day, the horizon seemed to go on and on and I understood why they used to think the land was flat. Just maybe, in the right boat, I could sail off the edge of it one day. Right off the edge into... something.  Whatever it was that waited beyond.

I remembered the first day my mother brought me here.  It was a Sunday late in the spring and I was only five years old.  The sun was shining, the breeze blowing so lightly it seemed to leave kisses on our skin. She held my hand as we sat at the edge of the cliff, our feet dangling over the water, and she told me so many stories.  Princes and princesses, dragons and knights, stories of adventure and excitement and promise.

I thought of those stories now. I thought of that day, and all the days after. I thought of the afternoons spent in the grass, making pictures out of the clouds. I thought of the smell of the sea, and how it always makes me think of her, and I knew the trees were wrong. It was here. And it was today. It was wrong, but it was also right

I stepped to the edge of the cliff, my feet so close that I'd fall in if I ever slipped.  Opening the box, I lifted it into the air, letting the wind take the ashes where it would.

"Goodbye, Mama. I miss you."

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