Day 138: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I close my eyes.

I’m in a row boat on the sea. The soft, rhythmic waves lap at the shore. The beach sits, soft and warm, bathed in an orange and pink haze cast out from the setting sun, beaming as it begins to sink gracefully toward the water on the horizon. He stands there, with a baseball cap, a black one, with a logo I can hardly make out. He doesn’t wave or usher me back. He just stands. And, there’s something in his posture that I read as sadness, reluctance, pain.

I dip my oars in the water. The tide is stronger than I’d anticipated. I fight to push back and the boat feels like it only moves a quarter of an inch toward the horizon. It’s ok. I knew this would be slow.

I look over my shoulder at the smoldering sun. The clouds that bleed out from behind it are turning a reddish purple color. I know I have to go there. I look back at the shore, he hasn’t moved. I row again, this time, another quarter inch. I don’t take my eyes off him. But, I know that even if I do, he’ll still be standing there when I look back again. 

The water looks black. It’s not threatening though. It’s just heavy, and pulling the oars down and back feels like slicing through molten lead. My arms are tired. I put the oars up on the sides of the boat and sit, unmoving, bobbing in the sea.

“Is there an anchor?” She asks.

“No. There’s no anchor.” I say.

I open my eyes.

My therapist is sitting across from me with her soft eyes. Her brow always furrowed in teddy-bear-like concern.

Tears stream down my cheeks. But, I don’t feel much of anything except the large frog in my throat. It seems to be a theme recently, this lack of outward emotion. Something I used to be so good at. I was the queen of drama. An answer for every quip, a tear for every insult, ten feeling words in an unfeeling situation. But here, with almost five months sobriety, I’ve lost a step. I’ve lost the feelings that once weighed so heavy.

I’m crying, but, I’m not. They’re just tears, rolling down from the corners of my eyes. Running my mascara and leaving little streaks in my cover up. They’re just tears. I don’t feel that pain. I don’t sob or gasp for air. I just see. When I close my eyes, he’s standing on the shore. His pain. Like he’s waiting for me.

I have to go toward the horizon. Even if it takes rowing through the thick, black lead. The water is dark, but it’s gentle. And, the sun, it is so beautiful. I know that just past that point in the ocean where I can’t see a thing, that’s where it is. I don’t know what it is, but it’s mine. It’s good. And, I have to get to it.

She looks at me from across the belly of the boat in her seat. Her back is to the shore, and to him. Then, she turns her torso around, and looks at the beach. He’s still there, in his hat. She turns back around, blonde hair following her head softly as she turns her face to me.

“So, there’s no anchor?” She asks.

“No. There’s no anchor.” I say.

“Then row, row, row your boat.”

And, I dip my oars in the sea.


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