It’s my day off of work. I’m laying on top of my pink flamingo. His name is Joffrey. I didn’t name him. The cats on Wildside did. Anyway, Joffrey’s glitter is blinging bright in the sun. The water beneath me is the shade of a swimming pool and it’s got blue veins that won’t sit still. There is a private island behind me, it’s just a flat pile of sand in the shape of an endless summer with sea shacks and palm trees sprinkled on top. It looks like it could sink back into the sea at any moment. I can see a sea turtle and a bunch of squid and people are flying kites all around me, or rather the kites are flying them, across the water and into the wind.

The boat next to me is one eye sore of a catamaran captained by a foreign man that wears speedos and button down long sleeve shirts with all the buttons undone. The name of his boat is graffitied along the entire length of his hull in red and black spray paint. It looks unintentional, as if it’s been vandalized by the green goblins of Halloween. I’ve been anchored here for days and he sails down here every morning and wedges his boat in front of me, leaving only 3 feet of saltwater between us. There is no privacy. Sometimes I’ll be butt naked and I’ll look up and there the speedo man is, standing on his bow, so close to me, it’s as if he’s inside of my boat.

The other day I said to him, “Hey, there’s a whole lot of empty water around here, why do you have to anchor on top of me? My boat’s a full keel and when the tide changes I’m side onto the wind and I bounce around a lot and our boats will bump into each other and somethings gonna break or somethings gonna give and it won’t be pretty.”

And the Speedo man said, “How big is your keel?”

And I said, “I just told you, it’s a full keel. Look if you don’t want to move that’s fine, but I hope your insured, because you’ll be paying for the damages.”

He didn’t blink or move his boat an inch and I just don’t know what I’ll do if we collide because squeezing money out that man would probably be like squeezing blood from a turnip. Other than the Speedo clown and his Halloween boat, Slippery Gypsy, Wildside, Joy, Moonfish, and Zephyr are here too. My little 34 foot floating sea shanty is doing just fine among them. Her anchor is dug into the shallow edge of a steep shelf with a 100 feet of chain dangling down.

My pirate golden shower ghost is long gone and no longer causing any ruckus. I suppose he really did get smoked out by the mountain leaves and prayers of that Fijian mystic magic woman back in Savusavu. I’ve been free of him for almost two months. He’s just a memory now, a memory hanging inside a clock on the wall that no longer chimes. It’s a shame that I never even knew his name. Without him haunting the joint, my life sounds like a fish tank.

I just went to the bathroom. My head is broken again and there isn’t enough gorilla glue to fix it this time. My head will just have to stay broken which is just as well because it’s always breaking anyway. In the meantime I’m using a vice grip to pump it dry.

I think my other head is broken too. The one on top of my neck. I can go from being on cloud nine to being nine feet under the earth in a minute flat. I don’t even know what brings it on. I don’t even know how to stop it. I don’t even know how such a feeling can exist in paradise. The crash. The fall. The pop of a bubble.

Maybe I should shove a bunch of dandelion flowers into my mouth until I turn back into a cloud. Maybe I can sleep off this feeling. Maybe I feel this feeling because my mom just called to tell me that my dog, Piper, died. She was the most gorgeous dog that ever lived. A red-coated, long-nosed, floppy-eared, cat-loving, biscuit-eating mutt. A park ranger in Rockaway Beach found her living under a truck when she was four months old and gave her to me. She loved the sea as much as me and I could never take her sailing because she was always jumping overboard. And when we’d go swimming in the ocean, I’d look over and she’d be body surfing a wave with her little head poking out of the salt. She even once crashed a  synchronized swimming performance in the middle of  Jamaica Bay. She couldn’t fetch, but she could bark and shake your hand and I swore she talked to me once in plain English. She was always giving face licks too, and we’d sleep next to each other in bed with my cat Nelly sleeping on Piper’s head. R.I.P. Piper! Without you I’m blue.

7 Replies to “WITHOUT YOU I’M BLUE”

  1. Rest In Peace Piper, I remember when you found her. You two were such a cute pair! Oh the halcyon Rockaway days… She had the sweetest face. Sending good vibes ? Lorena

  2. Olivia,
    Every time you feel low and gray, put yourself in ANY other shoes, anywhere else. I remember writing to my dad when i was anchored off Tahiti and telling him my tales of woe… how broke i was, how my woman just left me, etc. etc.. then a moment of distraction took my gaze to the scene around me, the awesomeness of it all, and then FREEDOM suddenly became more important than all my troubles. Here I was, floating in crystal clear water, flower scents drifting to me from on shore, and this wave of thankfulness quickly changed my whole perspective.
    I went below and cooked some rice and beans, had a quiet meal, and fell asleep in the cockpit.
    You are the fortunate who have chosen FREEDOM over all the rest.
    Get out of the flamingo and fix your shit so you won’t have the bads and just get on with it.

    1. Piper was the best dog, friend, companion, protector, and exercise coach. Once she liked you she was your friend and protector. We were fortunate to have her in our lives, thanks to Olivia. She loved her cousin, Pearl girl, they would have walks together, lake time together and sleep overs. Miss Kitty has been bewildered the past week with Pipers absence, but now seems to enjoy being an only pet. This week has been an adjustment for us. Thanks for sharing Piper with us. Mom xoxo

  3. My Border Collie – Dingo crossed nutcase
    aka ” Stella ” also jumps overboard far too often, so she wears her life jacket and stays tethered on deck underway. But she loves the boat and I love her too much to keep her away from her preference in life. At night she’s a blessing who I hold tight under my arm.
    I’m sorry you feel a bit down and dingleberry people are annoying you and trying to steal your serenity. The cliche’ Keep Calm and Carry On applies I guess.
    Still hoping to cross paths someday … I’m selling the Morgan now and have a Cheoy Lee lined up , She’s Dreamy !! Well you take care now ,, just be you and do it well
    Until then Cheerios , with or without milk my dear.
    ~ Chris & Stella ~

  4. It’s a very tough thing, recognising that you can be unhappy anywhere, but that’s the situation. You possibly have another dog – a black one – following you about. The bad news is it’s not going to go anywhere because it lives in you, but all is not lost. You can live with it. You have to live with it, and it sounds like you’ve been living with it.

    Keep your head up, and if you feel blue try and do something positive, even if it’s just writing or knocking out some chores. Doing the shit jobs, as awful as they are, will make you feel better. At least you have a nice office. Chin up, Olivia.

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