I love to write. I often overthink. I often overreact. I have come far. I am not there yet. I have no idea where I'm going to end up.
non-binary (she/her or they/them is cool, thanks),
with anxiety

Message from Writer

My words like being read, and they asked me to thank you for making them feel heard.

​Many Boats, One Storm

September 30, 2020


Imagine you are in a little boat, surrounded by others on a constant basis. Your neighbours wave to you when you’re on deck and you are rocked to sleep in steady seas with the certainty that tomorrow will be a good bit like today. 

Clouds form on the horizon.

Imagine you are in that little boat, and your bailing. Boats sink around you; overwhelmed by the wind, the rain, and the sky-high waves. Your heart is pounding like the water that beats against your boat, reminding you that you could be the next vessel to slip under. 

Your mom is at the helm, soaked and shivering, steering you to the eye of things. Beads of sweat drip down her face, lost in the rain. Your aunt is bailing with you, straining to lift the pail up and over the edge of the boat. The water’s at your shins now, and you feel your dread rising with it. You are already drowning in your mind; fighting to breathe.

    “We can’t stop now,” your aunt shouts across the wind with the strength of the tides.

That voice carries all the determination in the world, and it drives you to grit your teeth and keep dumping out your bucket. You begin to strain, but so long as your family doesn’t give up, you aren’t going to stop either.
You’ve made it to the eye. The three of you sit, panting in each other's arms like you’ve never been closer before. In reality, you have always been this close-knit; like easy-going crochet loops- but this had put that thread to the test. You’re all a little more frayed than before. You take deep, thankful breaths, but the storm still surrounds you, and no other boat is in sight. 

You floated like this for weeks, alone, not knowing what had become of friends and family. The only sign anything was being done was through the broadcasts over your radio where authorities and medics would warn you to “stay out of the st- vrr, vrr, vrii - and keep up good hyg- vrr, vrr”.

Boats began to come, one by one, out of the storm. Every single one was battered up, just to different degrees. Some had just been scratched, but others were only half afloat.

    “Grandma, grandpa!” you cried with joy as their familiar boat pulled into view.

They called back, and brought their boat over. You tied off together, had dinner like old times, and hugged them so tight that you might never lose them again. Later on, the silhouettes of familiar ships jut out against the grey sky. You rejoice in the knowledge of your friend’s safety, floating your boats side by side and sharing stories of this disaster. 
The storm lightened.

Authorities came over the radio again, saying that “the storm has cleared -vr, vr- things are back to business”. Few were ready to leave the eye. Too many boats still took on water, or overall needed repairs. You and your family sat down around the eating table.

    “It isn’t safe to go back,” your mother began, “it’s a risk, but it’s a manageable one.”
    “I can’t imagine trying to do business over the radio like some people are doing.” you confessed. “Ours is far too old.”
    “So, we head back in?” your mom asked.
    “Sounds exciting,” your Aunt declared.

You smiled and gave a nodd. It wasn’t safe, but you could risk it.
Imagine waking up on a medic boat. You’re spinning and disoriented. Kind people try to explain how you got there.

    “Your father brought you-”
    “Lay still now-”
    “He’s coming to pick you up after-”
    “This may hurt a little.”

They gave you pricks and bandages, comfort and compassion, but you were still distressed. You hadn’t seen your father since when he visited you briefly in the eye. He was always so busy; how could he bring you here? And where was your mother and aunt? When he came to get you with your stepmom, you asked them.

    “They’re both safe,” your father assured.
    “Your mom just figured we could get here faster,” your stepmom added.

Their boat was a lean, travelling kind. You sailed with them through the cool, light rain. Despite it, your head kept rolling side to side each time you nodded off. They brought you home, and tying the boats together, they helped your shaky bones into it. Your family stayed like this awhile, catching up and exchanging information from the medics while you crawled into bed. 

You ached, weak and restless. You were in poor condition and were forced to do business over the radio until you healed. Meaning had already been hard to interpret over the cackling of that metal box, but it was near impossible when all you wanted to do was turn off the hissing in your head. The throbbing felt like it would never pass, but it did, and bit by bit, your strength returned.

Clouds still hung in the sky, brewing as you tried to get back to business.

You are grateful for your family, but you worry about how much you rely on them. You’re at the age where most go out to sail the sea on their own. How were you expected to build a kayak that could withstand this storm?
This is the full version of a piece I'm going to pair down for my writer's craft class. Prompt was to write what my "going back to school experience" was. Words max is 500, but I wanted to publish the full piece somewhere.


See History
  • September 30, 2020 - 3:16pm (Now Viewing)

Login or Signup to provide a comment.