Gone for a Swim

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Story about a stressful relationship at sea.

Submitted: July 30, 2018

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Submitted: July 30, 2018

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Gone for a Swim


The 50 feet yacht bobbed gently on the waves about four miles from the coast. Horace St. Vincent, a seventy-year-old retired banker and proud owner of the yacht, scratched his bronzed chest as he looked towards Pirates’ Cove. God, how he hated that place. It may look like paradise to most people, but to him it was almost a prison. Hardly ever, would Grace, his wife and thirty years his junior, want to leave that cove. There was only one reason for her wanting to stay there, she just wanted to show off her magnificent body to all the people on the smaller boats and to the day-trippers that flocked to the tiny beaches below the cliffs. Staying within the cove didn’t fit Horace’s sense of adventure. He wanted to disappear over the horizon so he could properly test his skills as a sailor. He needed tests. Ever since his retirement, the sense of being tested on an almost daily basis had suddenly vanished from his life. Only once had that feeling returned; when he tried to woo Grace, now three years ago. It hadn’t even been a real test; he knew that. His money had been enough to get her into his life. Their courtship had only lasted for two months. They both had felt time shouldn’t be wasted, although their motives had probably been completely different.
Horace turned around as his wife climbed the steps leading up from the cabin. She looked stunning with her bronzed flesh spilling over her yellow bikini. She had that built he used to think of as succulent. Far better than the skinny women he always saw on the smaller boats, he always thought of them as dry twigs, scratchy and easily snapped. Not at all the type of women he found appetizing.
‘I’m hot. Can we go back to the cove?’ Grace asked. ‘I’d like to go for a swim.’
Horace made sweeping motion with his left hand. ‘There’s water enough here.’
Grace’s face clouded over as she rebuked: ‘You know I can’t go swimming here. It’s dangerous.’
‘Not any more dangerous than in Pirates’ Cove. Quite the opposite. Over there you might be run over by one of those lunatics racing around on those jet-skis. It’s much safer out here.’
‘No, it isn’t. There are sharks,’ responded Grace defiantly. ‘You know there are.’
‘Nonsense! I have never seen a shark around here.’
‘That’s because we’re never here. Why the hell do you want to be out here? There’s nothing to see around here. It’s all water.’
‘That’s why it’s called the ocean, dear.’ Horace turned on his smile. ‘The water is its main attraction. The water and its solitude. It’s lovely out here. You should try to enjoy it.’
‘Oh, fuck off,’ Grace swore. ‘Christ I feel hot.’
‘Then go for a swim.’
‘You’ll have to come too then. I’m not going into that water all by myself.’
‘That wouldn’t be wise, dear. Do you remember that film?’
‘What film? Jaws?’
‘Don’t be silly, dear, Jaws was completely fabricated. No, the ones about the people on the yacht all going for a swim, and then being unable to climb back on board again. We shouldn’t be doing that, do we? One of us has to stay here. It makes sense.’
‘We could go to Pirates’ Cove,’ Grace tried again.
Horace sighed heavily before he put on his tired tone of voice.
‘They spotted a shark there last week. It was right underneath the jetty, where all those holiday makers get into their boats. It was a big one too. You don’t want to go there.’
This last remark infuriated Grace. ‘Don’t tell me what I want to do!’ she yelled. ‘I can make up my mind without you telling me what to think. You’re getting more boring by the day. You just don’t want to see anybody. You’re turning into a recluse. Well, I don’t want to be out here on this fucking sea.’
‘Ocean, ‘ Horace corrected her.
‘Sea, ocean, it’s all the same to me. Just fucking water all around and not a decent human being in sight.’
Horace wanted to say something, but Grace cut him short. ‘Just shut up! You heard me right, not a decent human being, just an old fool who thinks he can rule the world like he used to rule his fucking bank. But get this, you’re nothing out here. Nobody’s looking up to you. You’re just a sorry looking old has been. If you don’t turn this damned boat around, you can sleep in the guestroom from now on.’ Grace’s face was contorted in anger as she spat out all her frustrations.
Horace looked dumbfounded by the outburst. His wife had never spoken to him like that. He felt lucky it had happened out at sea, without any witnesses.
Grace folded her arms in front of her chest defiantly and asked: ‘Well, what are you going to do? What is it going to be? The guest room?’
Horace had longed for a test, but not that kind of test. He sensed that Grace was right. He was no longer the man he used to be. Hell, when he was younger he would have chucked her overboard and left her there to drown, just to teach her a lesson. But now, he didn’t feel up to the hassle it would cause.
‘Okay, have it your way.’ His voice sounded flat. ‘We’ll sail to the cove. Then you can have your swim. All this isn’t worth the aggro.’ He turned around and retrieved the anchor from the ocean floor. Then he turned on the engine of the yacht, and sailed back to the cove. Grace left him at the rudder and went on the deck to catch the breeze caused by the forward motion of the ship. She didn’t speak to her husband again.
Horace steered the yacht past the jetty so that they could go down the cove to a spot near Calvin’s Rock where a lot of people used to swim on hot days. There were no swimmers this time.
“Odd,” thought Horace as he dropped the anchor. He watched the bubbles made by the heavy anchor hurtling towards the bottom. There was a fleeting shadow down there. He turned to his wife, and said: ‘Now, you can have your swim. Enjoy yourself.’
Grace just glared at him and dove into the azure water.
“Damn, you look gorgeous,” thought Horace. ‘She may be a bitch, but she looks very appetizing in that bikini. What was it called? Oh yeah, yum-yum-yellow.”

 

 





© Copyright 2018 Bert Broomberg. All rights reserved.

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