The Weight of the Boats

By Savannah Lanz

I remember-

gliding my fingertips across fields of lily pads. The underside of them was surfaced with a thick translucent gel that both repulsed and intrigued me. My fingers slipped from each one to another, at times stumbling into the actual pond. My paddle was resting on my lap and I had thrown my feet out of the kayak so they too could feel Helldiver’s water.

I titled my head back and closed my eyes, letting the sun consume me. I secretly loved that feeling of the sun tanning my skin, because later when only the moon was out I could still feel the rays almost radiating from me. I could still feel warmth even in the cold of the night.

It was less than a mile path through the woods to reach the half-submerged launch dock, if you could even call it that. Twenty-five worn down boards thrown together connecting the pond to the land.

We carried our kayaks through the woods, laughing at each other and complaining over the weight of the boats, because at that time we didn’t have any other reason to complain. Then it was just the weight of a boat, not the weight of the world.

We didn’t wear life jackets. We weren’t the kind of kids who wore life jackets. We were baseball caps, bathing suits, and bare feet. We were screaming songs out of the bed of a pickup truck driving down unpaved roads. We were sipping out of glass bottles that we stashed in coolers. We were rocking each other’s boats to see who would tip first.

No one ever did though.

There was no wind to brace that day, only the sun, only the pond, only my friends, only me.