The sea is blistering and I’m cooling off inside of a memory. I am sitting in the kitchen of the first house that I ever lived in. My sister is there. We are making pom-pom art. Our dad comes home with some VHS tapes and tells us to look out the window. Snow is falling. Is it my first snowfall? We make snow angles. We drink hot drinks. We watch the VHS tapes. My memory wants one of the tapes to be The Labyrinth. I’m watching it now, in my head. David Bowie. Puppetry. Talking worms and hands and doors. “You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe of the power.”
You know what I loved most about that house? There was a circular window above my bed and looking through it, I would always pretend that I was inside of a ship or submarine.
I regret some things about my youth. Like cutting all of my hair off, trying too hard to fit in, not spending more time with the glow worms, and being a jealous and sometimes atrocious older sister- I wish I could go back and do that part of my life over again.
The other day, somebody asked me if I knew what the weather was going to be tomorrow. I said, “The sun will rise near 6. It will blaze hot. The wind will blow from the northeast, just a touch. Squalls will scatter, a rainbow or two will appear off your stern, and you’re going to go gaga over the colors of the sunset.” I made most of it up, but yesterday my weather report came true. I think this is because I let the Wind Goddess out of her coconut. She must know what I like, don’t like, what I say I want, and what I really, really, really want.
An hour after hanging the coconut, the Goddess sang 12 knots of northeast wind into the sky. Compared to the 2 knots I was getting, 12 is thrilling. I feel like she sang other things into existence too; like the squalls that skirted all around, but never once touched us, and the rainbow that I could see off my stern from end to end with the moon right above it, and the purple and peach sunset.
I had to put the Coconut Wind Goddess away, because I couldn’t handle any more awesome things happening at once. I would have fallen overboard in awe.
Putting her away was a total mistake. At night the wind dropped and I was hand steering with next to no wind, moving like an inchworm in a sea of swell and flat air.
I like hand steering, it hypnotizes me, puts me in this bug-eyed trance and spoon-feeds me some type of energy that I can’t get anywhere else on earth, but last night I steered from sunset to sunrise and now I am mush.
I did attempt to sleep. I laid down. Had the pillow beneath my head, but there were two accidental jibes and one accidental tack within thirty minutes of me doing so. None of them were a big deal because this wind couldn’t damage a feather, but Cici was afraid to continue touching the helm and the autopilot doesn’t hold course at all with light air, so I steered and lived forever in one night.
At 6 a.m. I took a nap. I woke up to the main sheet sounding like a wildcat, the propane regulator possessed, and zero knots of wind. I mean, how is that even possible? I have never seen zero knots out on the ocean, .5, 1, sure, but zero!
I stared at the ocean’s mirror. Searching. I kept thinking that maybe some god was going to come walking across it or shoot out of it and try to rob me of my coconut, to get to the Wind Goddess of course. Someone like her ancient arch-nemesis or lover, who perhaps can turn into a giant lizard, if he so desires, and creeps around with lightening hidden in his clouds.
With nothing to do but wait for wind, Cici and I played chess, took ocean showers, and set up Ruby- my windvane.
Then I hung my Coconut Wind Goddess back up and called forth all the winds- misty, smoky, dusty, and stormy, while Cici did a wind dance.
Not long after, I saw ripples on the water. The wind was coming. Only three knots, but I went for it. I pulled the jib out, played around with the wheel, and got Juniper to move. I couldn’t believe it, she’s a fat gal and she was riding 3 knots of wind. I locked the helm and set Ruby to steer, then Juniper started moving at a speed of 3 knots. 3 and 3! I swear on every single one of my deceased ancestors graves, that the boat speed and wind speed were identical! And I’m talking speed through water, not over ground, so don’t even try to blame it on some rogue current.
Anyway, the wind just keeps on filling in and I now regret calling upon stormy wind, I hope he doesn’t actually turn up.