Sunday, September 6, 2020

Time and Tide


Ten-year-old Dila watched a bar of sunlight flicker on greenish water inside the shipwreck. The fleeting effect offered little time for capturing in words, being a phenomenon of low tide. Today's club diary wouldn't have an entry about another day at the beach; people who read it in years to come needed to experience a magical moment. 

Gentle surf boomed hollow against the hull, as rhythmic as the ripples cavorting on the sun patch. This could just as well be at the end of the world as a short distance offshore. Tarred timber smell pinched at Dila's nose, with brine and fish making their nose flavors known. Or would a land lubber even understand that?

Dila hoisted out of waist-depth to sit on a stiffener beam, her thighs feeling the chill of air currents. With legs dangling in the water, she opened a watertight case and jotted down some ideas. Interruption intruded from outside: Little Pete was doing another boulder dive off the stern castle.

"Woo-haa!" BOOSH! 

"Kids," Dila muttered. She hopped down and waded into the sunny spot, capturing herself in glittering sparkles. Still there seemed no way to pass the experience on to posterity. Outside the hole, a painfully bright horizon met the bluff at West Bend, the distant beach blanket franchise of the rich. Suddenly a face rose into view: Little Ed come to investigate.

"What are you doing down here all by yourself, Dila?" His fake beard, which all three boys had in imitation of Team Dan, was held in place with an elastic band.

"I'm trying to describe being inside here, for the diary."

"Not much of a story. Something needs to happen."

"No it doesn't. I want to preserve these few moments when water reflections dance overhead."

"That's poetry."

Dila frowned. "I'm not sure Zena does poetry." Both Dila and her older sister Dela channeled Zena, Team Dan's rebel-yell swordswoman. Since both couldn't use the moniker, they went by their given names. Outside, both Little Pete and Little Dan crashed into the sea. "Do you think the tide could float this thing away?"

Little Ed leaned arms on the hole. "I don't see how. There's no bottom."\

That explained the squishy silt beneath Dila's feet. Some swimming critter bumped her leg. She drew the wood sword tucked behind her dress and delivered a mighty overhead swing. "Hi-yeee!" All it got her was soaked by a mighty splash. "Arrrr. Mutt-mutt crabs!" The expression was her take on the popular "twice a cur". 

"Tide's coming up," Ed said.

Now chest deep, Dila wasn't ready to give up. "Come on, Ed, how do I describe this before it all changes?" They traded rather profound looks. "What?"

Ed stared at the light, which had begun to bend up the far side of the hull. "Dila, do you think we're changing?" 

The notion hadn't occurred to her. Time and tide, she had heard Zena say, wait for no man. Nothing was ever standing still. "That's just great, Ed. Now I have to deal with feelings, as if poetry isn't hard enough."

"Well, take Dela, for example. Have you noticed how she's. . . ."

"Getting points?"

Ed cringed. "Hey, we're teammates. I'm not staring or anything." He brushed at water spilling over the rim of the hole. "I guess us guys will have real beards before too long." Dila reached across, and he pulled her out.

As they waded toward shore and the waiting clubhouse on the hill, Dila came to a decision. "You've given me an idea, Ed. I'm  going to record this day as our first thoughts about growing up."

"Boogity!" Still a kid for now, Ed surged ahead in an impromptu race.

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