Barnegat Inlet, NJ – June 9, 2013
Sailboats look like shark teeth strewn across the water. Hundreds of white triangles running from one side of the bay to the other, but no wind for the race.
They topple sideways and flounder. Their captains lean over the side and try to will them through the water by hand. Motor boats string batches together in long lines and pull them across the bay. I slip through the lines, listening to their shouts back and forth, too shy to say hello.
Something has shifted in me. I feel wilder every day, drifting further from civilization. I move away from people along the shores. I hide from them at night and avoid them in the day. I glance down when I catch their eyes.
I’ve always gone invisible at night, stopping on deserted islands, hiding in quiet cracks, sleeping where no one will find me, but it’s becoming harder to turn off.
I’m worn down from waking up at dawn and camping after dark. I feel tired all the time. Weariness bleeds away my smile and people look through me like I’m a ghost.
I don’t blame them. We’re like mirrors, you know. Smile and see smiles. Frown and see frowns. Try to disappear and the world disappears from you.
“What are you all doing?” I shout to the last boat. “Why are there so many of you?”
“It’s the championship today,” the man shouted back. “We’re hoping the wind picks up soon.”
“Good luck!” I say as the tide pulls me away.
I smile and wave. He smiles and waves back. And I leave the shark teeth behind.