Everyday.

Your choice, he says. The Toyota idles for a moment while I contemplate left or right. Left? Or right?

 

——-

 

            I watched from under a tree, his curls fly through the wind as he swan dives beautifully into the calm lake. The bridge is clearly marked “No jumping or diving” marked as a huge teaser to us because he knows it’s deep enough to survive the drop.

            As he climbs out refreshed from the shock of cold he looks at me; alright, you wanna jump? I’m terrified, Come on, I’ll go with you. I’m sweaty and hot and sticky from a day of work, my curls are piled on top of my head in a dready mess that I’ve been ignoring for weeks. What the fuck, let’s do this. I take off my shirt, free my hair and walk nervously to the bridge, why not?

 

Break a law every day.

 

            Rocks to the right and sand to the left—stay center. He gets a running start as I climb on the edge and shut my brain off for a moment. I hold my breath and jump. I scream and take another breath before I hit the water. Shocked by the cold and I scream full of exhilaration as I pop to the surface.

 

Let go everyday.

 

————-

 

Right = home, chores, shower, the end of the weekend.

Left = that bridge. That damn bridge that terrified me all while making me feel alive.

 

————-

 

We got time, the wheels screech as I turn left out of the drive.

 

 

 

 

 

Water Sounds the Same Everywhere

Dad and I wake before school and notice the sun cresting over the horizon. Melting backwards above the water line, shining pink, purple and peaches over the water. Early mornings call for low voices, as if we talked any louder it would disturb the peace, so we whisper. The lake laps the sand, kissing it good morning.

Sitting on the beach on the edge of Lake Huron at 2 in the morning we listen to the fresh water lap on shore, the blanket under us and the moon bright above out heads, just our voices and the water. 17 years old, I felt rebellious being outside with a guy, my dad asleep at the house and the lake as beautiful as can be.

That same beach three years earlier, a small fire and remnants of marshmallows and Hershey wrappers, giggling girls worrying about soccer games, boys and finals week. We were a club that didn’t do anything special. We were watching the crescent moon rise, the stars fall and at 3am the Northern Lights peak above the horizon in an eerie glow that danced to the rhythm of the waves.

Lake Michigan: the other side of the state and bit further south. Eating ice cream with a man I’d later call my boyfriend—the conversation ranging from our pasts, to the confusion of the future. The lake laps laps laps and talks back to us. Months later we call it quits near that same beach. The water listens and doesn’t take sides.

The ocean. I live in the Mid Atlantic now and recently found myself on the beach at 1:30am wrapped in a Mexican blanket having one of those conversations; we talk about the greatness of having paddle boarded this morning, the uncertainties of jobs, relationships, life and decisions that need to be made sooner rather than later. The ocean laps too, the moon shines bright over head and the stars fall just the same as they do over the Great Lakes.

We whisper while putting the kayaks in the salty water, afraid to wake neighbors or disturb the osprey’s nest that is being built not far off shore. Hot coffee (with a nip of Kaluha) is bungeed in front of each of us, PB and Jelly sandwiches in a dry sack for later—we watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, we listen to the lapping of the waves and I notice as drops of water drip off my paddle. I propel myself through the oily water in a smooth cadence. Perfection in a silent sunrise. I’ve  learned that water sounds the same everywhere. Water and water people come together and create something great.