It was a small fishing boat, a khaki-colored, weighty vessel we dubbed The Brown Hornet. A nod to our childhood when Fat Albert was cool, and Bill Cosby was the world’s best father-figure. It was tiny, not more than twelve feet long, made for rivers and small lakes. We christened her with a graceful tip from a can of beer over her bow, which was held together with screws, duct tape, and what was left in a tube of industrial strength adhesive. We set out to the inland channels that spilled into the expansive blue of Lake Michigan.
It was barely summer. The water was still numbing and cold. But the day was splendid and warm. We followed one small river into a larger river, than through a large no wake channel that flowed into the big lake. The water was calm—a personification of glass as far as the eye could see, and the Brown Hornet skidded along its surface gracefully. We stopped to watch the sun go down—the horizon filled with color. I jumped in, my body shocked by the sudden cold, but I took one moment to ponder, to look at the boat above me, the expansive water around me. I held this beauty in my heart.
It was when we left that we noticed the leak. In our moment of calm watching the sunset, the v-shaped hull had steadily taken on water. The boat had an outboard motor, and the hand held throttle was open as far as it could go, but the boat could not get on plain. I realized the water was inside the boat. It was past my ankles, and rising. We were close to going under.
With night coming and a boat almost submerged. With miles between us and our car with no plan B, I fell in love. I fell in love with the messy, vibrant, wonder. With the thrilling need to be together. To watch the sunset by any means necessary, even if it meant going down with the ship. I fell in love regardless, in the most beautiful place on earth, with the one person who was worth giving up the certainty of my solitary life for the mystery of two being one.
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