Thursday, October 16, 2008

A it is

Chapter 6

"Oh, I have some food to deliver to some needy families at the wharf and I'd like you two to join me."

The wharf. He just as easily could have said "the pit of despair." I was struck with a knee quaking terror. I had not been back to the water line since my father's timely introduction to organized crime. This was unacceptable. But before I could gain my composure to protest, Frankie was dragging me out into the sunlight and walking me home.

All during the following school day I dreaded the final bell. I scribbled life jackets on all my school notes. I grew steadily more agitated as each class ate speedily through the rotations of the clock. Frankie met me outside as the blustery afternoon embraced a gray and darkening sky line. I willed my legs to keep up with my friend as we made our way to the church.

Father Filipepi had organized the preparation of two warm meals that were designated for two separate families in the parish. Frankie and I held paper sacks that emanated warm delicious smells. But even the heat from freshly baked dinner rolls couldn't warm my hands or the knot in my stomach. Try as I might I could not keep my eyes from staring at the black water that peaked from underneath the planks of the wharf as I walked behind Frankie. It lapped at the pylons, splashed on my shoes, grabbed at me in my imagination as it rose and fell under my feet. And precisely because I was looking down so intently, I didn't see the uneven surface in front of me. With a sudden jolt I felt my toes catch behind me as my body continued forward. I lost hold of my paper sack, I felt the hard planks against my side, the sound of Frankie calling my name sounded far away, and I hit the water with a splash. I thought I saw Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Almost without thinking I began to paddle with my hands and feet. Dark frigid water swirled around me, pulling at my clothes. I could see the dock at intervals as I came in and out of the water and I could see people shouting and pointing. And then an incredible thing happened. I stood up. My body felt incredibly heavy as my knees straightened and I discovered that well over three fourths of my frame was out of the water. I was standing in a foot of water, planted, dripping, in the seam of the sea.

I drew my hands to my face. I touched my lips to living finger tips. I blew a kiss to the lapping waves. And I walked to my friend and the priest.

3 comments:

Dale said...

Bravo! Kudos. You tell story better than almost anyone else I know. Mom

Josh and Erin said...

wonderful tale! :)

ChefEric said...

I just read all 6 chapters since I just happened across the blog today. nice work.
Eric