She had waited for hours for him, followed his directions exactly. He had been so precise about what he wanted, so very specific. Bring the old boat, he said, and pull it in behind that spit of land on the south end of the beach. Get as far back into the inlet as you can so that you’re hidden from anyone passing by.
He wanted to meet early, just before dawn, and so she had slept lightly, awakened in the dark, silently slipped into shorts and a sweater, and left the house carrying the blanket and a bottle of water. The boat was a problem: she pushed away from the dock and paddled it out into the dark, waiting until she was far past the neighbor’s beach before starting the engine.
Dawn came in a soft light, and gradually the dark shape of shore rose out of the water. She maneuvered the boat into the cove and by full daylight it was tucked safely back into the shelter of the cove, silent but for the tiny licks of waves against the port side. She waited, huddled under the heavy wool blanket, motionless as stone.
By noon he had not come. The sun was warmer now, almost hot, and her heart was pounding. Did I mistake the time? The place? Could he have meant somewhere else, or some other day?. Did he change his mind? Is he injured or ill? If I wait any longer, how will I explain where I’ve been? She climbed out of the boat, stretched cramped legs and waded into the water for a better look, fear catching her breath and binding it tight in her chest.
It’s going to storm, she thought. He’s not coming. She splashed her cheeks with the cold water and climbed back into the boat.
I will not cry, she promised herself, more in anger than in sadness. I won’t.
She pointed the boat north toward home.
I spent some time yesterday thinking about why I hate to play Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day. I remember the revelers who fell into the band, the thick blue cigar smoke, the press of people trying to get to the bar. This year, the Traverse City Celtic group did not play in public on St. Patrick’s Day, though some of the musicians split up into small groups and played in less populated restaurants and bars. Most, however, went to a private party and played music only for themselves.
Sounded like fun I thought, but of course I missed it all. I did celebrate by watching the wonderful musical/film “Once”, and wearing my shamrock socks. The biggest treat though was when OC Patty stopped by in costume, which was a project she had shared with me in the mornings when she would come in my room to make my bed and bring me coffee.
Patty went to a great deal of effort to put this costume together, to the delight of the OC residents—she went to each room and talked with the resident and gave them some chocolate coins– “end of the rainbow”, don’t you know. Her thought is to make everyone happy, make them laugh. It was too much fun to see her in the orange wig she made from fabric, and her sequined, pointy shoes.
Mostly what I am doing now is waiting at home. I saw Dr. Quick Draw last Friday and his word was a Bushy-sounding “Stay the Course!” Tomorrow I see Dr. Spiers, who will give the eventual go-ahead for the surgery. I don’t expect much tomorrow, and of course after that Quick Draw heads for a vacation in Mexico, so I imagine I will continue to wheel around my house, groaning when I have to stand up, and visiting the ladies at the infusion clinic every morning. I see no rainbows yet—but thanks to Patty I have some gold-wrapped chocolate coins!