The Fact That You’re Smiling

“I wanted, this once, to be on the water. I wanted to be close to what Ty had loved, close enough to somehow touch him.”

Foreground: Annie Spratt on Unsplash / Background: Ty and the author, August 2008

I promised I would work hard, work for free, do whatever he told me to do. I promised I was a fast learner.

“Heave-ho,” someone cries so we haul the lines in unison — “heave” to prepare, “ho” to pull, and repeat — and the sheet slowly rises from its slumber into the salt air.

We agreed we should celebrate a life well lived, and the phrase fell from our lips and hit the floor: empty, cheap, insulting.

We saw groups of students going somewhere, and the space between us expanded and warped, like seeing the world through water.

We take turns, eyes to the horizon even though we all know we don’t really need a lookout on such a small ship in such an empty ocean.

Writer, documentary producer. Brooklyn & Whidbey Island, WA. Lover of yellow.