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I remember white and yellow plumerias stop smelling in winter without the summer breeze. I remember trouble sleeping at the airport because of rolling ball installation. I remember being invited to a stranger’s summerhouse. I remember that invitation to a summerhouse from people I had just met. I remember leashing out at you and I always thought you were the rocky one. I remember sticking a note under your doorway apologizing and knowing things would never be the same. I remember your friends crashed in our apartment three in the morning. I remember living in the shades. I remember the sun kissing my skin feeling reborn. I remember the ladybird lucky charm.
“Hey, sweetie, look, Uncle Dion sent us a postcard.” Walking from the postbox to the car.
“A postcard?! I thought he went to some sort of extraterritorial island in the middle of God knows where.” Marc is sipping his coffee, sitting at the garden under the wilted vine gazebo.
“I guess it was sent when he stopped over somewhere else. He did mention the place but I don’t remember. Some city up north beginning with an “S”…. Well, anyways…see you, hun.”
She slammed the car door and checked if Mariette had her seatbelt buckled at the back seat. Mocha, the maltipoo, was always so pumped up when he knew he was going somewhere. He was now jumping frenetically next to Mariette, all ears and tumbling feet.
“Is it Fluffy Cove? It is Fluffy Cove, mommy! It’s blue. Uncle Dion was there?”
“No, honey, it’s not Fluffy Cove, it’s somewhere very far from us.”
“But it’s blue, like Fluffy Cove, and there are big rocks and big clouds too.”
“Beaches are all the same, Mariette. Let me see, there should be the name of the place… Oh, it’s a photo he took! It’s unique Honey.” Then mutters to herself: “or he just ran out of money.”
“Uncle Dion drew a dog.”
“It’s a cotton candy dog. What’s it’s name, mommy?”
“Mariette, I can’t read now, I’m driving. It’s very dangerous to read when driving.”
She stopped the car at the lights.
“DEAR MARIETTE, I MISS YOU SO MUCH!
HOW ARE DADDY AND MOMMY? HAVE YOU
BEEN TAKING GOOD CARE OF MOCHA?
GUESS WHAT? I HAVE A NEW FRIEND FOR MOCHA,
HER NAME IS CHOCO. SHE’S PRETTY.
YOU WILL LOVE HER. I BET ELISE IS SPOILING HER
WITH TONNES OF DOG SNACK. GO GIVE HER A HUG FOR ME.
MISS YOU! SEE YOU SOON.
“I wanna see her mommy! Can I see Choco?”
“But we are going on a fishing trip, you remember?” the car moved again.
“So can we see her tomorrow? I really wanna see her.”
“Yes, we can. Or I’ll see if Elise will be at home, if not we will have to go another day.”
They encircled the mountain as they drove to the dock over the hill. Sophie peeked at the grocery list and tried to figure what should be on there but not.
“Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy …… I forgot what I want to say…. I’m hungry.”
“Seriously, Mariette. You’ve just eaten. Come on, you are just showing off how much you can eat.”
“Can I put the bread on the fish hook now?”
“We will do that when we get to the dock, ok? And don’t take the fish hook out cause it hurts so much to take it out when it gets under your skin.”
“What is it, Mariette?” looking at the rear-view mirror.
“Haha! Just kidding.” She kept on giggling.
It is weather to take a book, a beer and a pack of chips to the beach. It is weather when sons grab goggles and beg fathers to go snorkeling. It is weather to hop on your bike and let the breeze caress you. It is weather to have a treasure hunt underwater. It is weather to build a whale on the sand and surround it with pebbles and shells.
“Can I have ice cream?” Sophie pulled over at a grocery store.
“Yes, and we also need tomatoes and cucumber for tonight dinner. Ok, what flavor do you want?”
“Roche, no wait, strawberry, actually I want pistachio ice cream bar. Can I have them all?”
“You wouldn’t be able to finish them cause they will be melting all over you hands and your skirt. So, come on, just pick one, princess.”
Mariette glanced through all flavors, from strawberry to pistachio and back to strawberries…
“I’d pick strawberry if I were you, it matches your dress.” Said the store lady.
Mariette smiled and nodded.
“Then I’ll get pistachio so we can switch.” Said Sophie.
Sophie drove all the way to the dock only made a brief stop to pick some oregano from the hill slope while Mariette sang “Oregano, oregano… oregano, oregano” in the car. The car now smelt like a tomato and cucumber salad with olives and feta swamped in tonnes of olive oil.
“Honey can you hold Mocha for a sec, I need to take out the hook, the pole and the bread crumbs…”she closed the door.
Mocha ran straight once Mariette let go of him. He hopped from boulders to boulders, sniffed and peed at a crack and trotted to the end of the dock.
The blue sky faded into the big bright sun while fluffy curls rose from sea and dragged at their feet. It was all blue and white, white and blue.
Seamen rolling up anchors. Ships shrieking.
anchors binding loose spirits,
spirits scattering in streams,
streams of memories,
memories in loop,
loop without anchor
Mariette and Sophie have been moving between anchor poles, proving the lack of luck. Mariette wonders what the hooks on a dock are called; she knew once, has forgotten. Little silver curves flash around her hook but not one seemed to be interested in treats. Or they were just cheeky snatchers. Last hope, end of the dock.
“Mariette, I don’t think we have good food for the fish today, we need worms to get really good fish.”
“But they are eating, see? It’s gone.”
“Yea, the bread gets off easily. They are not biting onto the hook. Let’s get worms and we’ll come back.”
“Not today sweetie, it’s late now. We need to go back and start making dinner. Daddy and Niko are probably starving. We can do this next week.”
“Wait…”Mariette walked quickly to the shore further away from the dock, closer to a ship. I’m gonna have fish. It worked last time with breadcrumbs. I’m gonna try this one more time and I WILL have fish. She let go of the pole, held the fishing line and slid it down. She waited and waited and waited and waited…the fish are swarming to the hook…there is this one...NOW!
“Mom! Look!”she held it up high to Sophie.
“Mariette, it’s so small. It’s a baby!”
Mariette tries not to slip or squash the little thing as it flips on her soft hands.
“It’s too small, Mari. We can’t eat it. You can’t kill a baby. Let’s put it back.”
“Is it dying?”
“Come, quick. Toss it back to the sea.” Sophie led Mariette back to the sea. Mariette kneeled down on the edge of the dock, held her breath, looked deep into the water.
On their way back home, Mariette is quiet. Sophie figures she must be tired and maybe a little bit disappointed.
“Mom, do you think that fish can live.”
“Yea, I think so.” Sophie peeked at the rear-view mirror. Mariette is leaning on the window, arms folded under her chin.