I roll from side to side, like a ship tossed on the waves. My mind lost somewhere between dream and wakefulness. These seas I’m sailing give me no peace. Pitched about by fear and doubt, I cling to the gunwales of the mattress, trying not to think about the doubts deep beneath us, frozen in cathedrals of ice.
Each passing year, the price of sleep becomes more dear. I am reminded of my parents, retiring at midnight, and rising before the sun. Is this what middle age brings, sleepless nights performing the calculus of money, while the children dream unfettered? They spent a life time patching holes in a leaking boat. Something I never understood until long after I had been delivered to the shore.
Now it is our turn. We plot, and plan, and keep our spreadsheets, recording credits and debits, and bills yet to come. All the while the boat lurches forward over the crest of the swell, before dropping into the valley of the next. These are the stories that went untold. The stories that were written in wrinkles across the faces that stared out of old photographs.
I know the shore is out there somewhere, beyond the crown of innumerable waves. There is no time for despair, no time but to put our strength into each pull, timing the rise, and fall of the waves, until our lives assume their rhythms. Our boat is strong, we have seen to that. There are no leaks springing through the hull, no waves breaking over the bowsprit. We are damn lucky, and have no reason to complain. Still, in the dark of the night, I look into the distance and see the lights of sleek yachts cutting through the waves, and can’t help but wonder, why not us?
We ply these waters through innumerable crossings, some placid, some rough. Yet each time the shore disappears from sight, the doubt returns, gnawing at my stomach. How much longer can our luck hold out? For surely it is luck. Even after all these years I cannot help but feel we have done nothing to deserve this.
Like children standing on the beach, we cannot grasp the immensity of the seas before us, or fathom its depths. In my mind I can see us as the children we were, and the children we still are. Picking stones off the beach, sending them skipping like dreams across the surface of the water, sending ripples out like messages radioed into the depth of space. Documenting our existence to an audience we hope is listening.