The Paddle Board

Paul got it.

My parents arrived about 9 p.m. with a peach pie in tow and a scavenger hunt ready. Paul trailed around the house, having Ingrid or Dagne read his notes. When he got to the paddle board, he was stunned.

It is a beautiful piece of work. Pale banana yellow. Brown curly designs that hint of Hawaii. Smooth, gentle curves in all the right places. And 25 pounds. I fell in love at first sight. When we loaded it into the minivan, the board extended the entire length of the van dividing the two of us at eye level. Peeking over the board at Paul, neither of us felt the wedge. Instead, without saying it, we had invited a third into our relationship and formed a menage a trois. Paul winked at me. I winked back.

Paul said, “It’s really not fair to get this the day before I leave.” I smiled a knowing smile, enough to make him jealous, and began to think of ways to get it out on the water.

We parked the car and went into the airport together. After kissing and hugging and praying and then repeating it all again, we parted. I knocked the front passenger seat back and rotated the board on its side to make it more comfortable for us to travel. Still, the board loomed inside the van, large, long and yellow. People stared and I laughed at the incongruous picture of a soccer mom in a minivan toting a long board. Even though I was listening to Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, I wobbled my head a little to play up the part — as if I were listening to the Beach Boys or the Dead instead.

Reality has little to do with anything. I was still the same mom of four with my stay-at-home jeans and my lack of makeup. But somehow that board made me feel sexy and Bohemian, sun-kissed and at one with the water. At moments like those, feelings are everything and I burst into a legend in my own mind.

It all subsides eventually. But when the feelings rise beneath you, you must ride them like a wave and let them carry you as far as they will go. For what is life but the feelings welling within? We’ve all seen the man or woman with everything who still is unhappy. And yesterday, I lived the life of a Hawaiian queen, riding the waves in my mind, free and easy.


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