In which we revisit a home that we’ve not been able to enjoy for years, knowing that it might be temporary.
Of course everything is temporary, but that does not make it easier.
There are some things I’d let myself almost-forget. Sea-tiredness, where the lulling, constant movement leaves you sodden. Wind burn, where you become as brown and brittle as an old leaf. Swinging from handhold to handhold as the boat leans and twists around you, traversing cabins and decks like a slow-motion gibbon. Standing in the dinghy even though everyone knows not to because you’ll fall, but you don’t because of the low rope in your hand and a carefully pressed calf. Coffee and diesel. Salt. Rope. Bad hair. Half-closed eyes. Butterflies and bumble bees where they shouldn’t be. A spider tells you that the boat has not been used recently. A bleached spray hood says, that’s not the whole story. Your children can’t remember all the places you’ve been, but their hands and feet find their way as if they know more. Paddling home. Leading the dinghy like a favourite horse. Tying her up. Walking into a house. Being surprised by fresh water. More than half my life.