Owing, never owning, not completely – you wake up to ready your ocean condominium for the renters. The natural light shining off the sand is not what awakens you but the alarm on your cell phone. The storm shutters are still down and it is pitch black. You kept them down last night during the full moon. If you raised them, then lowered them, all you would be doing for a good portion of the twelve hours available to you in the condominium is raising and lowering shutters. They are heavy and require a portion of your strength and effort needed for other tasks.
You shower, using your own towel from home so the renters have fresh towels. You use a shampoo manufactured in Düsseldorf, something a tourist has left behind. You find a long black hair on one of the towels when straightening the bath. It is not from you or your husband. His hair is black but not long. Yours is blond and not as coarse. The base of a lamp which is a model of a small Adirondack chair has lost one leg and several slats. It has been smashed by a child. You replace the lamp with one you brought with you from home. You have spent a good portion of your twelve hours at the hardware store buying things for the rental, taking better care of it than your own home further inland.
So is it worth it? For 20 minutes you allowed yourself to stand on your porch, gazing at the moon hanging over a silver sea. You fell asleep to the soughing of waves. At some point during the night, you had a dream that your husband was arguing with you about whether to fix the brakes on your car. In the dream, you walked away from him, just like that. When you woke up, you were lighter, though you hadn’t lost weight and not much else had changed.
First appeared in Pure Slush