6/27/2013

The Dock Haze (Short Story)

The Dock Haze

We came out of the woods and onto a beautiful sandy beach. There was a long wooden dock extending off the beach, far out into the sea. The sun was shining, and there was a very strange haze hanging low out at sea, causing the dock to appear endless.  We followed the creaking dock straight into the strange haze. The path seemed to go on forever, and we reached the end of the dock before we could even see it. 

There was a boat tied securely to the end of the dock. The boat was equipped with two sails, a main and a jib, which stood luffing in the breeze. It was hard to see the parts of the boat in the thick haze that surrounded us. We could not see the land, only the beginning of the long dock fading off into the haze. I touched the boat, and the sun shined. This caused me to jump back and let go of the boat. When I let go of the boat, I was back in the haze.

We hopped in the already rigged boat, and now not the haze, but instead the bright sunlight shone all around us. The moment I grabbed the tiller and main sheet, the wind picked up and the sails filled with air. The lines that tethered the boat to the dock suddenly disintegrated and we were off on a rapid course amongst building conditions. You held the jib sail tight in place while we accelerated further away from the dock.

We sailed around enjoying the glorious conditions for a while, until the sky grew darker and the seas grew more violent. The sails on our mysterious vessel turned from a crisp white to a dark, threatening shade of red. We held on with all of our strength as we felt the howling wind making its best attempts at turning our boat over. The main sheet dug deep into my hand as I strained to keep my grip. 

The sails had by now faded to black, and the conditions were becoming unbearable. I tried my hardest to set a course back to the dock, but the wind blew straight out of that direction.  It was just the two of us on a small boat caught in the midst of a huge storm, and I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again. We were riding on high seas, fighting to survive. I looked at you for what I thought would be the last time.

Then, I saw the enormous wave rising up on the horizon. It grew taller and more ominous and I turned our boat downwind away from it. I knew I had to catch it at the perfect angle to save our lives. The wave climbed high above our mast and we locked our feet into the hiking straps, using our weight to balance the boat. We were surfing a tsunami on a death coaster toward no shore. 

The top of the wave curled over down the line, encircling our boat in a tunnel of water. I could still see the opening at the end when it came crashing town on top of us. The mast snapped immediately and I slid further down into the boat to grab onto the hiking straps that once held our feet. I took a deep breath just before the boat submerged, tumbling in the thrash of water from the freshly crashed wave. 

I held on for my life while the boat continued to spin around uncontrollably. I was running out of air when it surfaced as a floating bath tub surrounded with bubbling water. The boat was missing most of its functional parts. The tiller was gone, leaving behind half a wooden rudder. The mast and sails were no where in sight. I looked toward where you sat holding the jib, and you were gone.

The sun was shining again, and the seas were calm. I slowly drifted alone for a while until I could once again see the dock. The dock was untouched by the storm, looking exactly the same as before. The boat was an absolute wreck, and I was even more of a disaster. The boat drifted perfectly into place at the dock, and the lines that disappeared when we left appeared again to fasten the boat into place.

I got off the boat, more confused than I had ever been. I looked all around me, feeling the warm and humid air. I could still not see land from the dock, just the thick haze. I turned back to the boat to notice that the mast was growing back. It slowly rose out of the boat and into the sky, with sails that sprouted like leaves from the regenerated mast. I had never heard of sailboats like this. I needed to get off that dock.

I turned my back on the ever-inviting little boat and made my way miserably off the dock. When I arrived at the beach, my confusion turned to pure bliss at the sight of you lying there on the shore. I approached and you stirred, rising to your feet. I told you all about my afternoon and you didn’t remember any of it, no boat, no storm, nothing. The strange cloud still hung low over the dock out at sea. You were untouched by the wave, but washed up on shore with no memory. 

We went back through the forest, far away from that dock. I’ll come back to that dock with you one day, and take the mystical boat out sailing. We’ll brave the storm, and ride the huge wave. When it’s all over I’ll sail gracefully back to the dock with you. You’ll remember it all as we walk down the dock raving about the experience. Until then, you’ll just have to believe me.

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