Page 38 in the series Before the Pirates Came*
The storm was raging now, the beast was poised to strike. Miranda scurried onto her boat, slipped on a step, and fell onto the aft deck. She was unnerved by the fear in Greg’s voice. If he was so intimidated even with all his experience, where did that leave a rookie like her? She grabbed a handrail, pulled herself onto her feet, and sealed the little door in the shrinkwrap that was flapping in the wind. Out of breath, she made it down the steps to the cabin which was toasty warm, thanks to the extra power from the dock down the way. She was grateful to be safe and out of the weather.
She remembered the half eaten can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce in the refrigerator, grabbed a spoon, and felt her stomach churn as the boat started to rock. She wouldn’t be having a snack tonight. A blanket, her pillow, and a bottle of Pepto Bismol would have to do. Then another assault– a crashing wave, some cans of soup, a bottle of pills, and a cordless screwdriver fell hard at her feet.
The old boat was supposed to be water tight. But tonight Miranda wondered if boat-builder George Garcia was thinking about a Lake Michigan snow storm when he created the first aluminum Marinette 30 years ago. She wondered if welded marine grade aluminum was strong enough to take what the night had to offer. Miranda listened intently, waiting for the sound of the bilge pumps. Oh my gosh– were they even working!?
With an ear to the floor, she became obsessed with the thought of her boat filling with water and her dockmates finding her lifeless body in the morning. Miranda had to think fast before she submerged herself in thoughts of doom. She reached up to the counter, fished around for a pencil, and grabbed a small flashlight. Then, crawling on her belly to the hatch in the floor, she grabbed the pull ring and heaved open the heavy panel. The bilge was dark, and vast. In the hollow space the sounds of the storm echoed.
Before she lost her nerve, Miranda put the flashlight between her teeth, took the pencil, and reached deep into the murky hull. She held her breath as she tripped the bilge pump with the eraser end of the pencil, hoping not to be electrocuted. A whirring sound told her the pump was working, and the lack of rushing water meant the bilge was dry. Thank God. Relieved, Miranda closed the hatch and wiggled back to her spot on the floor.
Just as she was patting herself on the back, the boat began to list and she puked all over her new Oriental rug, another gift from Charlie. He always came bearing gifts, and cash, and a smile. But none of that mattered tonight, did it… BECAUSE HE WASN’T THERE! And even if he was busy at work, he could have called!
This was the last straw. If it weren’t for Charlie, she and Harry would still be together. Miranda would forever regret looking into the eyes of the pirate who took what wasn’t his. Instead of lying face down seasick in her own vomit, she would be at home taking a bubble bath while Harry smiled and looked on. There in the storm, Miranda decided to end it with Charlie. She had enough money socked away that she didn’t need him anymore. The area rug cost as much as a small car. She hoped the dry cleaner made house calls.
Soon she would be on a plane to West Palm Beach where she could relax and forget for awhile. There was nothing to be gained by celebrating Thanksgiving alone in the snow.
Somehow between the waves, and by the grace of a God she didn’t even know was watching, Miranda drifted safely to sleep.
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.