The wooden grains of his oars shimmered repetitively each time they exited the glassy waters. He was going back, back to his island again.
Peggy stood on the rocks with her hand in the air. He paused a moment to wave back before his next pull on the oars’ blades. He felt safe now; he was almost on familiar territory—a simpler way of living.
Peggy sucked in the air around her, her heart flailing for the kindness, support, and comfort she was yet again waving goodbye to. They’d had a wonderful few days together, full of affection and responsiveness. At times his eyes would light up when she said something, only to ember down again when she asked a question that probed too deep—the question that had prompted him to say he had to retreat again. “Too much to do,” he’d said, while they both knew the real reason.
Daniel stepped into the shallow water and started to pull the hoary skiff up onto the sand. A chilly breeze pushed past his face. Pallid clouds always seemed to shroud the sun here, and today was no different. He trudged toward home.
Home, a modified shed, had all he needed—a kettle, a one ring burner, a small refrigerator, a pallet to sleep on. He pulled off his boots slowly, leaned back onto the thin mattress, and closed his eyes.
Peggy turned toward home after standing on the shore for far too long, each step leaving behind a dying star of hope that this time, this time he would turn the boat around and row back to shore, to her. He would leap out of the boat, squeeze her and never let her go, choose to fight for both of them, to let light shine into his life, to leave his island to the birds and the sand. She plodded on.
“I’ll be okay,” she muttered to the hovering wind. “I’ll be okay.
This was written in an attempt to understand what it feels like to live with a depressed spouse. Many times, as a writer, it is easier to stand in another's shoes when I imagine myself in them.
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