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The Boat with No Name
The shouts and the screams, the slaps and the bangs, the buzz of the TV and the singing of the kettle all cram their way into Margaret’s room until she is overcome by noise. Escape, is all she can think. Out the window, down the drainpipe she’s climbed countless of times before and off she goes. Where is she going? She isn’t really sure herself, she just needs to get away.
Bye-bye Calamity. That’s what she nicknamed her house two years ago when the shouting started. At the time she thought it was hilarious, clever even, but now after two years? No, now it was just depressing.
She was heading north, or maybe east? She never was very good at geography, or anything else for that matter. Forward. Forward was always a reliable direction. So she continued walking forward, humming a little tune under her breath, trying to block out the noise that seemed to hover like a cloud over her head.
Would they notice she’d left? Not likely. Sometimes she wondered if they remembered she was there at all, they were so wrapped up in their bubble of anger. Not that she was surprised; most people didn’t pay attention to Margaret. She’d dubbed herself and her best friend ‘blenders’ in the fifth grade. Blending into the background, she sometimes wondered if there was anything unique about her at all. Average grades, average talents, average looks. Average, average, average. She never liked that word all that much.
She walks past the church where people are singing and praising “Glory to God in the Highest!” Her dad has been an Atheist ever since his brother passed away, but her mother used to take Margaret to church every Sunday. Not anymore.
Up ahead she catches a glimpse of the sea behind the houses, shimmering beneath the sun. She’d gotten used to the weather not corresponding with her moods. For some reason she had expected it to be raining the first time she heard her parents fighting, but it wasn’t, which was a little disappointing. Nothing is ever like the movies, she thought gloomily.
Around the corner, her breath, like every other time, comes out a little quicker and her heart beats a little faster as she takes in the view. The frothy white waves crash up against the old stonewall with a pulsating anger and the boats in the dock are as still and empty as ghosts, both reminding her of sorrow. Somewhere between the moment she’d first seen this view and now, she’d forgotten how to see the beauty and joy in wonderful places. Everything reminds her of loneliness and despair.
She walks down the pier, between the ghost boats all lined up in perfect succession. Past the yachts named Annie and Elizabeth, she walks down to the boat with no name.
It’s not like the others. Surrounded by majestic yachts and speedboats, it’s tiny frail base and stripy blue and white sail look out of date. Out of century. Yet this no name boat was Margaret ‘s favourite. She imagines sailing of into the distance, away, further and further away.
Imagine that. Escaping the life she leads here. She could travel all over the world, with an atlas in her hands. With the world in her hands. I’d have to learn how to sail, she thought to herself and then laughed out loud at the idea of asking her parents for sailing lessons. She can imagine their preoccupied faces, their insensitive words.
Without warning she tilts her head back, closes her average brown eyes and inhales the thick salty air. A smile slowly creeps its way onto her face; this is the only place that can make her smile. Those smiles were so rare, but when they come they change her from average Margaret, to Margaret with the brilliant smile. She just didn’t know it.
A fisherman watches her come and go everyday, anticipating the day when she’d jump into the sea and never come back. The longing was etched into every wrinkle and crease in her young face, yet everyday she turned away with slumped shoulders. He shook his head in wonder, but was soon distracted by a tug on his fishing rod. He forgot about Margaret and her longing for escape, as most people did.
And, like every other day, Margaret turns away from the sea, but this time she glances back and makes a promise to herself. What does she promise? Well, that’s Margaret’s secret, but let’s just say that it has something to do with a no name boat and stripy blue and white sail.
Maybe someday someone would see past average Margaret and uncover her smile. Maybe someday she’ll find someone to share her secret. Maybe someday she’ll escape.