The sailboat dipped and rose as the wave moved surrounded it, kissing the underbelly of our vessel as it passed. I took it as a good sign that all of the day’s waves seemed to be well-wishers, and that I hadn’t felt the urge to lean over the railing and reproduce the remnants of our nautical picnic. The sun sat low in the sky and the boat seemed to drift, like an old horse on a well-worn path, toward the high cliff on the other side of the bay of Cassis. I sat at the stern, one arm thrown over the railing, taking in slow deep breaths to make the sea air last longer, to let it settle into my diaphragm and to tickle my alveoli before it had the chance to reconsider moving in. I wanted to stay on the sea forever, to let the sea rock me into my wildest dreams, to wait and rest and write rocked by the waves that would wish me well, without fail.

We drew up to the cliff and to the nude beach in its shadow, as we had for the last few months of Sundays, and someone put down the anchor.  Someone else went down into the hull and hauled up bottles of wine and plastic containers of rice salad and long baguettes of crusty bread. I laid out the silverware fit for a seafaring Frenchman and set out the plastic plates, folding linen napkins into the center of each place setting. We smiled at each other as we huddled around the table in the sailboat’s bay, exhausted after a day adrift on the water. My skin crawled with sea salt and sunshine, and I shivered as the wind tested the give on the anchor’s tether. I was happy and I was home, and I held the fugacious feeling close.

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