TITLE: Story for a Shipwright
GENRE: Literary fiction
We had our last frost several weeks ago. Overnight, it had solidified all those muddy ruts in our dooryard and I could see my breath. A faint odor of diesel hung in the fog as coffee from my mug mingled with salty morning air. It’s a quick jaunt from our bed-and-breakfast to the boatshed, but I was in a hurry, as usual. Although one misstep ruptured a skin of ice, splashing water up into my boot, I made it to the shop without getting more than damp from the misting drizzle. The air smelled like spring, heavy, like mud. In the shop it seemed to suspend everything—fine dust and particles, even time. When I’m working, I tend to lose track that way and I can’t say for sure how long I had been running my sander—it could have been hours or perhaps only minutes—when I noticed an intruder. At first, I thought it was my hired guy, but the skirt was definitely not his style. I doubt I would have noticed her at all except she managed to plant herself right there, in that spot where at high noon the sun shoots through the hole in the roof which won’t get fixed for a month. No one had seen the sun for two weeks, but in that moment, it split the clouds, thrust a shard through that narrow fissure, and reflected off every hovering dust particle surrounding her.