We were given the largest schooner. The one with billowing sails, laced and layered upon each other. Carrying us forward in the gentle wind. Gliding through the warm waters. Spraying us with salty sea.

We slowed once to greet a friendly walrus poking its silky wet nose above the water’s cusp. It was then a gust of angry winds swooped in and lifted the bow high into the air. We heard the crack of walnut wood, our boat splitting in two, casting us into the sea.

I watched my father fall. Disappear into the dark waters. Our dismembered ship lay floating, scattered, and moving with the current. A tangled mass of splintered wood.

The Islanders learned of the accident almost immediately. They arrived in masses. Diligent arm ants on the call of duty. This was their beloved ship. We had sunk their best boat.

I was rescued by the graces of an Indian fisherman. Only he helped me into a water taxi because he believed I wouldn’t like the smell of dead cod fish sloshing around in his steel dory.

Tall and lanky, he released an exaggerated stretch as he climbed into the taxi that brought me safely into town, where everyone was talking about the Americans who sunk their best boat.

Their beloved schooner.

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