Scared & Brave

by jkatejohnston

29 March 2015

Enzo gathered stuff for our camping trip and put it in his Scooby Doo rolling suitcase and a duffel bag: “Got the camping rations.”

“What are you bringing?”

“Assorted surprise.”

Later I checked: pillow, fishing book, box of Kleenex, Mac’s Field Guide to Freshwater Fish of North America, slippers for both of us, my python-print cotton scarf.

We went to Rancho Seco for the fishing derby, but Enzo got so into kayaking and was so sure that we’d get skunked again that we never even put our poles in the water. I didn’t bring my kayak (too big) and I let him go across the lake by himself.

I’m not good at distances, but it might be almost a mile across, and he was paddling into the rising sun, such a small boat and figure, then just a wavering black shape on the glittering water. To get to our rendezvous (the dog park), I had to walk along a path where the view was blocked by trees for a few minutes, and when I came back to water’s edge, I couldn’t see him at all. I rushed on, full of dread. What if he turned back? How would we ever find each other? Why couldn’t I see him? It wasn’t such a great distance, but the sun—I couldn’t see much of anything.

The plan was for him to cross to the boat docks and then cross another section of water over to the dog park, so he would make two legs of a triangle, and I would make one. Staring across the water, rushing on, stopping to look and look. And then I saw him, rounding a bit of land that juts out by the docks, and then heading across the water again, the smallest boat on the lake by an order of magnitude, paddling along steady and strong.

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