Safe Not Safe

The boat broke across the water, dark and hard, the wind constant until we were leeward of the island. The water stayed dark, but we now glided, turning along the rocky shore, a boathouse at the tip, and came around the corner, again into the wind. The dock was there and then the house. DSCN1935My mother looked well, not old and lost as she was supposed to be, but talking easily and walking ahead up the steep rocks and into the back of the house where her sister was, not dead, and my father, frail but not dead either, and she showed me the diving board my brother had brought up from the city for the pool, still under construction.Newfoundlabrador2010 076I noticed the algae for the first time then, much thicker than the water. It was in the neighbor’s pool too, and in the Olympic sized one at the apartment complex. I made jokes about diving and swimming. My niece laughed at that while my brother made the usual remarks about my drinking and we watched the film that we were in about the encroaching algae. It was written well, with the cartoon characters in the second act proclaiming their importance directly to the audience, and I made I note of that, thinking I should try that device too. 20151003_153056The algae did not stop. It consumed everything – the pools, the houses, climbing up everything, breeding, spreading, until the astonishingly climax where the algae people had swarmed up to the highest buildings of the city and had at last cornered the corporate giants responsible for everything. IMAG1622And then there was nothing, not water, not land, not weight. Blackness out of a space-age dream, a voice over all, choosing, like a reality show, seeing who will be eliminated, one by one, a harrowing horrible, cartoon thing, falling through booby traps, numbers being counted down, playing that game, ignoring the vertiginous void, the inevitability, the death. 20150919_154805And then in the water again, always there, breaking over the surface, the bow hitting hard, thinking the shore will never come, and then getting there, unloading the groceries and trying to find the right word for my name.