The bow of the “420” was set part way in the cradle of the half submerged trailer. He winched the sailboat up, until the bow was just behind the winch, and set the lock. He looked about for her. He couldn’t see her but he knew she would be there someplace. He got in the cab of the pick-up, started the engine, and towed the trailer with the sailboat up the ramp, the water drizzling off the trailer frame and out the open transom plug hole.
He turned off the engine and sat for several moments, thinking. For the past twenty years this had been one of the calendar of labors they did together each fall, usually in mid October, sometimes even with a few snowflakes floating down. Each year it was a time of nostalgia buffered by the memory of the summers on the water. They loved to sail, especially on moonlit mid summer nights when the hot capricious southwest gusts of the day had moved to a warm steady dependable wind from the south and they could run out and set the sails on a reach parallel to the shoreline, watching the cottage lights, feeling free, together, and safe knowing which pattern of lights marked the harbor.
He got out of the cab. He needed to get things in place, the mast lashed down tight, the boom cushioned on the floorboards by the life preservers, and the sail bag snuggled under the small cuddy. Bagging the sails was always her job. She would do that for him to put the bag in the boat when it was hauled out. Then she would often take a walk and later go to the cab to get out of the cold. That’s where he would usually find her.
Finished, he checked to be sure everything was set. Then he cinched tight the straps from each side of the trailer over the hull and walked back to the cab of the pick-up. When he got in he knew she was with him. He could catch the faint aroma of her perfume. He smiled, started the engine, and drove home, alone.
Copyright 2009 Roland Howell