Monday, November 16, 2015

CW #4 - Come Sail Away

You'd think that this writing thing would get easier each week, but no, it is getting harder. I took the comments from the workshop and incorporated them into my story, but I know there are still a few problems logistically. I'll leave it to you to decide what makes sense!

                      ~

Come Sail Away

With shoulders slumped and a frown on his face, Brian kicked at the sand as he walked along the beach towards the resort's marina. He felt trapped by his boring job and a wife that didn't give him a moment's peace. He was uneasy about the 5 million dollar insurance policy that his wife, Cornelia, had taken out on his life and was looking to find solace among the boats.

The hot sand was replaced by the smooth boards of the dock. His frown turned to a smile as he walked along the dock admiring the colourful sailboats. A slender, blonde woman on a boat waved a greeting. He waved back.

The next day, as soon as Cornelia left the room for her day of spa and shopping, Brian headed straight for the docks. The blonde woman was there again; this time, instead of just waving, she called out 'hi'. A butterfly tumbled in his stomach.

"Hi." Brian answered. "Is this your boat?"

"Yup, she's all mine! She's an O'day 14 footer built in 1984." Tulula plunged a mop into a pail and continued scrubbing the deck.

"She's a beauty. She's exactly the same azure blue as the ocean. I'm Brian." He shifted from one foot to the other.

"I'm Tulula, do you sail?"

"No, but I've wanted to since I was a boy. Are you from around here?"

Tulula dipped her bucket into the sea and rinsed off the soapy deck, "I'm from Canada, but left when I was 32, I've lived here for 5 years. It feels more like home here than Toronto ever did. I couldn't stand the winters."

"Oh! I'm from Toronto too, and I know exactly what you're saying. I dream of moving away but my wife… oh, I don't want to talk about her… what does your family think of you living here?"

"I don't have any family." Tulula said quietly. She stowed the bucket in the tiny cabin and emerged with a coconut and machette. With a flourish she chopped open the coconut and offered Brian a drink.

A bead of sweat formed on his brow, and with a shaking hand took the coconut from her, "er… where did you learn to do that?"

"I had a friend here who knew all about native plants and fish and he took me under his wing. He died in a boating accident. I miss him."

She stepped off the boat and sat down on the edge of the dock, dangling her feet in the water. Brian sat down beside her and an easy banter grew between them. Suddenly he remembered that he'd better get back to his room or Cornelia would be furious.

As soon as Cornelia left the next morning, Brian walked quickly to the docks, hoping that Tulula would be there. His face brightened when he saw her blonde head bent over her mop.

"Hey!" she called out to him, stowing the mop in the compartment under the seat. "Do you want to go for a sail?"

"Oh boy - do I ever!" Brian stood at the side of the boat, his face flushed and a wide grin spread across it.

He hopped on the boat, but before he could sit down she handed him a life jacket. "You'd better wear this." she said, putting hers on as she spoke.

They motored out of the harbour and when they were clear of the breakwater Tulula set the sails. As the wind blew through his hair, Brian couldn't imagine anything quite so grand. "This is amazing!"

Lost in conversation, the hours passed quickly. After a quick look at her watch Tulula turned around, shocked to see huge black clouds racing their way. "We'd better get back." As they got closer to the storm the wind picked up and the ocean got rough. "Hold the tiller while I reef the sails!" she shouted over the wind.

The waves tossed them around like a cork, driving rain soaking them. Passing Brian the tiller again she ducked into the cabin and emerged with a scabbard holding her machete slung across her back. Her teeth chattered as she turned to Brian, "just in case…"

Waves crashed around them - Brian couldn't see how they could possibly survive the ocean's wrath. The boat crested a wave and shuddered before it crashed into the trough.  Shudder. Crash. Shudder. Crash. On it went, Brian and Tulula's eyes wide with terror, until a giant wave crashed down on top of them, capsizing the boat. As the boat sunk into the sea, Brian and Tulula clung onto each other as the waves threatened to bring them under too.

The sun was just coming up in the east when they washed onto the shore, their arms numb from grasping each other. They dragged themselves further onto the beach and collapsed.

When Tulula woke up she called out, "Hey Brian! Look, there's a grove of coconuts. I'm parched."

On shaking legs they shuffled through the sand to the trees. The storm had knocked several coconuts to the ground and they drank and ate until they had their fill. Energized, they started walking along the shoreline looking for habitation;  when they had circled the island with no sign of life they knew they were lost.

"We'd better make a shelter." said Tulula as she walked towards a line of palm trees. Later, using hooks and line that had been tucked into a pocket of one of the lifejackets, and matches from another pocket, they waded into the lagoon to catch some fish to grill for supper. Every day they combed the beach looking for washed up sea life, if their search didn't turn up anything they waded out into the lagoon with baited hooks to catch their day's meal. They settled into an easy routine and soon the days turned into weeks, which turned into months.

"How many days have we been here, Tulula?"

She sidled up to him and checked her watch, "361." she said slipping her arm around his waist.

"Just 4 more days till I'll be declared dead and Cornelia can collect my life insurance, she must be ecstatic."

Several hundred feet offshore, a commercial pleasure boat dropped its anchor and a small skiff was lowered into the water. Catching the sound of the droning engine Brian and Tulula looked up. Pleasure and dismay contorted their faces as they realized they'd been rescued.

Rage distorted Cornelia's face the next day at the sound of Brian's voice on the phone. "what, when." she spluttered as Brian informed her that he'd already talked to a lawyer about a divorce. Through gritted teeth she said "You can't take half my business, you have no right."

"You're wrong there - I do have the right and I'm going to take it. I'm not interested in being a partner in your business, I want my half in cash." Brian hung up the phone and turned to Tulula, "we aren't going to have to worry about money for the rest of our lives."