Down below he fixed me a drink. I’ve yet to know what it was because I was just about to ask, when he reached across the counter and kissed me. It was a passionate where-have-you-been-all-my-life kind of kiss. We were getting hot and heavy very quickly, then he pulled back abruptly with one word. “Later.” And he left me. This man who loved one word sentences was playing with my heart. There was nothing for me to do except take a quick look around, down my drink, then follow him.
When I got up top he’d moved fast. He’d cut the motor and set the sails loose. It was majestic. The boat slipped across the water like a trained ice skater, with fluid, expert strides and perfect balance and motion.
I caught my breath at the feeling of sailing. My God, I loved it! Seagulls swooped down from the cloud-banked sky and yelled at me, while the warm, humid air caressed my skin. For a second I recalled that the sky had been cloudless when we were on shore. Then he was by my side and I got the feeling he was going to ask me to go below again. I was just thinking how I’d rather stay up top for awhile and enjoy the ride, but before I got a chance to say anything I saw it. He saw it too because his eyes were curiously studying the sky.
“Are you worried about that big black cloud?” I said.
“Nah. I’ve been sailing since I was a teenager. We won’t have a problem with a little squall. Besides we’re not far from shore.”
He didn’t convince me though because there’d been a long hesitation between my question and his “nah.” And that’s when the rain started. By the time we were at the hatch it had turned to hail and big round balls of it were bouncing all over the deck. It was like the sky had exploded, then something smashed into John Albert’s head and his legs went under him. He looked like a closing jackknife as he folded unto the deck.
The wind pounded at me with incredible force shoving me backward. Shocked and feeling helpless I couldn’t take a step forward to see if he was all right. He didn’t move except for his clothing, which the wind was battering and ballooning. The pole lay across his body trapping him under it.
I saw the wall of water out of the corner of my eye and, I turned my head as it struck the boat with such a force it sent me sprawling across the deck in the opposite direction of John Albert. I landed with a sickening thud. The drink I’d just consumed spewed out of my mouth like a pink water fountain. I grabbed onto some dangling line and squeezed with all my might. But the violent pitching of the boat made me sicker. The spray coated me in an icy cloak. Another rough wave smashed against the boat and the line snapped leaving me as unfurled as it was.I was loose now tumbling with each rock and roll of the boat. I knew I had to try and get below.