I was walking down my street and it was lit up all shades of sun… twinkling past trees and bare on the cement and reflected off of polished old cars. Out on the porch next to my building someone was eating something with bay seasoning, and the sense-memory association snapped me back to once when i was crabbing with those funny little cages off the side of a pier after fifth grade and the click of their metal against the wooden dock as we set them down and watched the crabs toddle out sideways from within. I associate the smell more with live crabs than with eating them because i’ve never really eaten crabs. Plucking meat out of anything’s shell is a bit too carnivorously aggressive for me… even sliding a tail off of a shrimp is a bit distasteful. The summer after fifth grade i went on “the cruise” with the boat-club that my mother’s boyfriend belonged to… really just a whole slew of tiny personal boats chugging their way down to Maryland and then back up again over the course of a week. At the time it didn’t really occur to me what an odd little vacation it was. My mother had left me alone at my Aunt Susan’s the year before to go out on the cruise with our just found cat Googie, but i wound up (accidentally) kicking out a window in her den door and it was all quite a debacle. The first time i was ever on a boat was a few years before, and it was a house-boat with a living room and oreo cookies and a resident fluffy cat.
I fell for a girl on the cruise and every fictional character i created for an entire year afterwards was named ‘Barbara,” and i’ve never met anyone my age with that name again. When i would chase her in the water she’s just swim out until the deep end and wait until i grew tired of bobbing up and down just by bouncing off of my toes and floating a little. Other than that, all i really remember from the cruise was that it was the first time i danced in front of people and not just with my mother in my own living room. And, i quite liked it. But, somehow i contrived to be sick for the last night’s dance and missed it, i think because i knew she’d be there. The whole trip had this very fraternal atmosphere between all of the boaters and their counterparts at various marinas down the coast. I don’t think i’ll ever do anything quite like it again. Except for those silly butterflies and staying home from the dance to play with my gameboy and watch the stars… i suppose i might contrive that a time or two more in one way or another..