by Karen S. Elliott
I stood silent, soaked and getting wetter. The rain crashed on darkened dock wood and on the officers’ slickers; it reminded me of bacon frying. Sirens and flashing reds and blues pulsed around me. A mechanical bloop-bloop made me turn in time to see an ambulance creeping through the throng.
Our sailboat No Regrets, out of Dewey Beach, Delaware, listed to starboard, derelict. Her headsail was flapping, having lost her rigging.
The day was gun-metal gray, and white-caps agitated over fish and coastline. Fir and leafless trees on shore bowed their limbs in sorrow. Hovering overhead were a few shore birds; their screeching was getting on my nerves.
I shook under a blanket provided at some point on the haul toward shore. My mousy brown hair was plastered to my face. Stupid onlookers thought the wet on my face was tears.
Someone said, about me, “She’s in shock.” A blur of people walked around me in an annoying orbit. I heard one woman lament that I’d lost my husband. He wasn’t lost. I knew exactly where he was.
I saw the blue of the Coast Guard, the flash and awe of police badges. A Coast Guard officer pulled a detective to the side and they talked in hushed tones; they pointed to the boat, to me, back to the boat.
A tall uniform in boots and a slicker walked toward me with a purpose. His soles shook the boards under my feet like the throb of indigenous drums.
I clutched the blanket in shaking hands. I pulled the corners over my face, a forged display of shame.
Under the blanket, I smiled.