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A Tugboat Captain’s Son

It seems as though the dish soap I use at work washes the lines of my palms away. If they were to ask for my fingerprint I wouldn’t know whether it would appear or would it be a black smudge in a square labeled “right thumb”? No lines visible. No resemblance of a person. Without those lines my identity becomes a mystery. I could choose a new one. A new beginning. Experience everything again. I become nobody and everybody as I scrub dish after dish.


His father is a tugboat captain. He’s been doing it since he was fourteen. The tugboat captain’s son wants to be a journalist. He wants to move to New York and live the busy, tumultuous life of the Big Apple. I wash dishes and he rolls silverware across the kitchen as he tells me this. I am impressed with his conviction in life. He has confidence in his passion. In his ability to live it.


I stop washing the dishes, disliking the idea of losing me. We talk about sneezes and their orgasmic qualities. We become friends. Our conversation grows not longer but deeper. We talk about high school. He was outgoing. He had lots of friends and a good humor about his hormonal years of navigating the world of women. We talk about college. Where I went. Where he wants to go. I talk about my experience traveling. I become vibrant talking about active volcanoes and nurturing friendships and nights on top of sky scrapers drinking with strangers and loving them. Truly loving them for sharing that experience with me, because without them, it would be less spectacular. However, that sky will always captivate me from any coordinate on this earth, whether the stars create a glimmering film on top or the city lights outline it creating a dense being with so much life hidden.  It creates a grand optimist, explaining just how loud and huge life can be.


He smiles at me. Just as his New York life is his muse, these experiences are what I crave.


On my way home I stop on a hill. It overlooks the lit city. I desired beauty and so I saw it. It’s funny how that works. An everyday sight can turn into majesty.


Last night it was a few lights on the horizon that blurred as I drove passed.


Tonight I watch a black sky with a gold necklace elegantly placed around her long, slender neck. She knows everything. And yet her delicacy is still in tact. I inspect my palms in the light of her cityscape jewelry and see the valleys of my fingers and palms. They are rivers and inlets. They are rough and delicate. Innocence and experience. They run vertical and horizontal. Crooked and straight. They create a confidence in me. A determination. One that matches the patient son of the tugboat captain.


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