The Life Aquatic

What do you see when you look at this picture? That’s what we are asked by Charli Mills and her latest prompt?

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idyllic or full of menace?

May 27, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story, using the above photo as a prompt. You can make it a garden party or an international spy thriller. Who is there and why? Does the backdrop scenery make an impact or is it ignored? The place is on an island, if you wish to make use of that. Go where the photograph leads you this week.

I’m sure a lot of people will see the beauty, imagine the pleasure of a boat trip on those calm waters, or a seductive cruise or a coruscating sailing afternoon.

Me? I see the land. The ‘thank heavens I’m now safe’. I am left utterly cold by water based trips. I do them. Some things, the Great Barrier Reef for example, cannot be viewed except from something aquatic. If you want to see Whales and Dolphins and Porpoises and not feel inexpressibly sad at their obscene confinement you need to board a boat and hang on to both the side and your stomach.

I know, I know. New Zealand had me black water and white water rafting and cruising on Doubtful Sound. But see, look at this.

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Do I look happy?

When we landed from the waterfall, who expressed their relief in a rather visceral way?

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I’m still alive

And while this is an example of the extreme I’m no better if the water is smooth and the crew trustworthy.

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I’ve been happier…

It’s the out of my depth piece I loath. I am not in control of my destiny when there is a body of water between me and standing on solid land.

Once, in the Caribbean we took a  catamaran trip to a beach for some snorkeling – I looked after the bags – and the boat was struck by lightening on the way back. All the power was lost and we sort of wandered for a bit. The children loved it, the Textiliste just read another a chapter but I let my imagination run riot. And not in a good way. I eyed the lockers where the flotation aids were kept. I ran a quick count of the aged, infirm and children and debated with myself how many I might have to trample. I even wondered if the Lawyer, then about 11 was a strong enough swimmer that I might take his jacket if I felt it necessary.

Twice I’ve enjoyed (and endured) holidays on the British canal system and the Thames and both have been slow paced and great fun until the last day when we seem to end up in A&E. It’s me, I know but that doesn’t make it any easier.

If I go back to the photo prompt I see the mountains and think ‘yes please’. But close up, near the shoreline, the open treads and lack of a handrail give me the screaming ab-dabs.

With that background, how do you expect the flash to end up? Get real. It’ll be hell.

 Full Circle

 ‘Remember this one?’ Paul held out a photo.

‘It was a Sunday. You caught the sun, out on the water.’

Paul nodded. ‘We should take the children.’ He looked pointedly at Mary’s stomach.

Mary traced the steps to the water with her finger. ‘Do you think she’s still there?’

‘Rupert will find out.’

Mary held Paul’s hand. ‘I can’t believe she was living in the same village we stayed in on our honeymoon. We might…’ Her eyes filled.

Paul said quickly, ‘Remember that woman renting the finishing tackle…’

Mary stared. ‘Yes! You commented on her eyes.’

‘Green like yours.’

Go here to catch up on Mary’s story so far.

And on Thursday last week we went to see Fleetwood Mac at the O2. Great trip down memory lane. Boy, do they look crusty and the voices have suffered a bit but they put on a good show. The ultimate tribute band in a way, sort of near to what one remembers without quite being it. And this song has always been a favourite for its message, which I hope resonates with Mary:

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to The Life Aquatic

  1. Sacha Black says:

    CAN’T STAND boats! two things I’m afraid of in life, boats and spiders. I am 100% with you on that. Although I have to say – you do seem to be much more of a sport about getting on them than I am. Physically shoved springs to mind – or else knocked unconscious with copious amounts of seasickness drugs (or anything else at that point) and alcohol in the hope I sleep through it.

    *could I take the lawyers life jacket* L.O.LLLLLLLL

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rachel M says:

    This is a funny one. I don’t mind boats at all and actually quite enjoy them. But I’m very anxious about other things like earthquakes and I did similar things in Christchurch: running scenarios through my mind about what I’d do when the next aftershock strikes – duck under a table or crouch in a doorway … that type of thing. I did it for a while when we first moved to Auckland but I’m happy to say I’ve stopped now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      it must have been terrifying; talking to my friends there, hearing how many aftershocks there were and how it caused such devastation, it is hard to comprehend. I’ve never been to a war zone but visiting Christchurch felt like the nearest I’ve been to one.

      Like

  3. willowdot21 says:

    This is a great blog full of joy and memories, ….. I am so jealous that you went to see Fleetwood Mac …. how dare they get older?? I love you favourite song but my all time favourite now even more than Leather and lace is Landslide … maybe it is a age thing

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another family trait perhaps, I never liked boats or being on the water either, probably owing to our natural ability to sink. Then, of course, I became a marine archaeologist!
    I suppose you have it worse because it is linked to your inherent ability to injure yourself, in the most improbable situations – who else can dislocate a bone in the neck Maypole dancing!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Norah says:

    I love your honesty re thinking about how many people you might have to trample to escape. It reminds me of George in Seinfeld trampling the children to escape the fire. Most amusing.
    This turn in Mary’s story is fascinating. I love the way you keep the story flowing in sequence. I jump backwards and forwards through time with mine. I am so looking forward to Mary meeting up with her twin. At first, when Mary traced with her finger to the water’s edge, I thought she may have meant there – buried in the water. Hopefully not!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Annecdotist says:

    I agree, much safer on land. You were very brave to take to the water when you did.
    And another interesting twist to Mary’s story – I’ve got a book review coming (I think on Thursday – The Versions of Us) which is partly about a relationship made up of chance encounters and opportunities missed. Perhaps Mary would like to read it!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Charli Mills says:

    For someone who doesn’t like water, you seem to do a lot on it, in it and under it. How fun to get to see Fleetwood Mac. They can still play those guitars, those and sing better than I ever could!

    You have not missed a beat with continuing Mary’s story. I’m intrigued by the woman who has her green eyes.

    Like

  8. Laughed my way through your descriptions of your times on the water and your photographs said it all.
    So close and yet so far for Mary. Perhaps the baby will keep her so occupied she’ll forget..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely!! I participated in this flash fiction challenge this week! Really loved this prompt! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Garden Parties « Carrot Ranch Communications

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