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a pink shark’s fin

published: 2017-08-23

The tip of the sailing boat’s mast follows the horizon like a finger following a road on a map. A very straight road from East to West. There are swallows, two of them. They are black against the pastel coloured sky and they remind me of ink-blots.
There was a little girl on the beach today who was all in pink. Pink goggles, pink swimsuit. She also had a pink shark’s fin strapped to her back to help her float.
A family descended into the water. Mother first. She was short and fat and she wore John Lennon sunglasses. Her daughter was an exact copy of her. Mother popped her sunglasses up unto her head and watched her daughter with a look of appreciation. Father came, and son. They both had inward turning legs while their feet turned outward and were in black water-shoes.
And there I sat, punishing myself for not being as I should be. For being fatter than I wanted, older than I desired. For not pursuing my dreams. A fake, a weakling. Hating myself for the ice-cream I ate, angry for the trouble I always get my mind into.
I watched that family, looked at how uncomplicated it was for them to love each other, to be whole and complete.I felt envious.
Just be, I told myself, just be for goodness sake.
Then angry at being so angry.
While watching the tip of the mast continue westward, my son touches my arm.
“You’re so soft,” he says. His left eye is droopy, heavy from the weight of his tranquility in a face that is usually folded in a laugh or crumpled in an excited state of some sort. The other day, I heard him come up the path and he was singing. Loud, alone. A few weeks ago he had said that same thing and then leaned against my arm to fall asleep.
This time he adds something, “you’re so soft to everyone.”
My heart becomes fluid the way the fading sky does. The boat has moved all the way to the left of our view. The tip of its mast is still perfectly aligned with the horizon. A smile comes from within.
Whole and complete with my own little family. It is right there.

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