Saturday, October 16, 2010

Snapple Apple 450 Week 21: Waiting for the Tide to Change

SnappleApple 450

Picture 1

Picture 2

SnappleApple 450's Choice: Picture 1

Waiting for the Tide to Change

Have you ever waited for something, knowing it would never come? Have you ever stared off into the distance just to stare? Have you ever wondered when everything will change and your life will never be the same? All you have to do is wait. Wait for time. Wait for love. Wait for luck. Wait for the rain to fall in a desert. Have you ever waited for anything?

I have.

I’ve waited my whole life for change. Waited my whole life for someone to come up to me and say ‘Claire, you’ve waited long enough.’ But no one has ever come for me. So here I stand on this empty beach...waiting.

Eight years ago, my dad went out on his brand new fishing boat with my older brother.

“What do you think of it, Claire?” My dad lifted me on his shoulders so I could see the boat better.
“It’s like a pirate ship!” I exclaimed with excitement.
“That’s right! Just like a pirate ship! I even have my black flag, but I’d better not hang it up or it will scare everyone away.” He whispered into my ear, winking secretively.
I winked back, putting my fingers to my lips to be quiet.

I was five years old when he got his fishing boat. He and I loved the ocean. He’d tell me bedtime stories of pirates and sea monsters and sailing. He promised to take me on an adventure one day when I was older. He gave me a little toy ship replica to remind me of all the fun we would have.

Here I was, years later, waiting for him to come home from his fishing trip. I was older now. Almost 14 years old. He promised that when I was a teenager, we’d go on a trip, just him and me. He promised where was he?

I had overheard my mom talking to coast guards once. I’ll never forget that day I heard my mom just break down and cry for the first time in front of anyone. She was usually a very quiet, reserved person, but when they told her the news....

“Mrs. Moncrief?” The tall one said, taking his hat off in respect. Both their faces were solemn. My mom opened the door wider to let them in.
The short one spotted me peaking out from behind the kitchen. He coughed slightly, nodding towards me. “I’m not sure if she should be around to hear this, ma’am.”
She turned around and waved her hands, shooing me off. “Go play with your toys, Claire. Everything is alright.” Her wavering smile told me just the opposite, but I left the room to hide better.
“Mrs. Moncrief, we sent our men out in search for your husbands boat and we haven’t found anything yet. After that large storm out there.... It would be a shock to all of us if he survived in his small boat. Fishing boats that size aren’t built to weather storms. I’m terribly sorry, ma’am, but we have to give up the search.”
My mom collapsed into the chair. “What am I supposed to tell his daughter?”

From then on, my mom had referred to me as “his daughter”. She dis-attached herself from me completely. I became a stranger to my own mother just as she became a stranger to me. She started a drinking habit and to get away from her, I’d come down to the ocean and wait.

Here I sat, day after day, year after year. My once new toy boat was now brown and decomposing from continual use and aging. I’d hold onto it as I watched the horizon. It was the last thing I had from my dad before he disappeared.

Everyone thought he and my brother were dead, but I knew the truth. My dad told me the boat had magical powers. It would never sink no matter how many pirates tried to blast holes in it or how many storms came. I bet my dad was out sailing the seven seas with his black flag raised high and just trying to find his way home to me and mama. The storm must have blown his map into the ocean and he got lost.

I would wait here until the day he comes home. He made me promise to wait for him so wait I will. Even if I’m middle-aged and my boat is all but a plank of rotting wood, I’ll wait for him to come home. Wait for him to tell me I’ve waited long enough. Until then, I’ll sit here and wait.