We on the ferry out from Cameron cross the ship channel at Calcasieu Pass, headin to another one a our what to call snuggle weekends, when it comes to me that this here might be the now or never moment to confront a issue which, I’m honest, been a some deep concern to me quite some time. I’m sayin. Bangin in my poor head like a cat in a bucket. Worry and stress and such. Fear even, I’m a say it, on occasion. Brace myself and take the plunge what I need to do, fore I set foot nor wheel on the far bank, figuratively speakin, a course, on account a we on a boat, in the fervent hope a consignin all such dreary dubiousness to the deep and runnin waters roundabout. Love a terrible thing all it is. Type a predicament to which a man a my straightforward character and modest station in life manifestly unaccustomed. Cross the channel take all a five minutes, bump to bump, ain’t leave much time I want to say what I feel like need to be said.
The good ship Amadeus a the Louisiana Department Of Transport swing about and fix her course for the far bank. Gaggle a shrimp boats runnin downstream, arms akimbo, into the open sea. Want a be cool. Want a be casual, you know it? Plus, come to think, want to emphasize the safety factors a this here, on account a we employed in a industry put a high value on bein safe. Obligation what I’m sayin, do things in a safe and proper manner. Ain’t safe don’t do it, the motto a which. Huh? Why you want to be drivin every damn day on up to Lake Charles, be dodgin gators and musclebound lunatics in musclebound, bigass, fat tire pickmeup trucks? More muscle than sense, and never know what the damn weather going do, when you could be right here tuck up in the bed with me a minute from the gates a the damn job site. All I’m sayin. Puttin out there. A actual minute. In a actual, if somewhat diminutive I will concede, house on stilts back a the village, edge a the prairie. Private. Not to mention you payin rent up yonder you ain’t need to be payin. Landlord got his beady, nasty eye on you, ain’t know what the greasy motherfucker up to half the time. Huh? I love you to death, do any damn thing you want me to do. But what I want is for us to be together. All the time. Cuddle beat the band all night long. Every damn night.
Manage a stately, if somewhat time consumin, pirouette bring herself round and up to the dock. Clock tickin. Folks start they engines, all about gettin off, gettin on up the road to the weekend, and my heart beatin what it’s doin, ain’t a damn thing stately about it. Ropes twirled about the dolphins, snug up. Here we go.
Cough a little, clear my throat.
– Yes hon.
– Want a ask you somethin.
– Anything sweetie.
We movin, followin the flow round the wheelhouse and up the ramp, down to the track and then we on about our business, negotiate the potholes and ridges a gravel chips on the bank up onto the blacktop, pick up the pace in the line a hurryin traffic, headin on, headin out t’ward Texas its own self. We free! Cept I ain’t free. Not yet.
– Go ahead, ask me. I’m listenin.
Cept he lookin out the damn window at the ditch already, want to see a gator. Every time, like ain’t seen a gator fore now. Damn gators know him what I think, see his sweet face at the window give him a wave we passin by.
– I was thinkin maybe was time we talk about…
– I know it.
– You know it?
– Yessir. Right there! Look! You see it?
I did too. And a big feller, what he was, watchful hooded eyes on the surface, like to driftin backward through his own ripples into the reeds, waitin on lunch.
– I see it hon. He a big boy alright.
Got my hands s’tight on the wheel my knuckles gone to white.
– I’m thinkin. I was thinkin. We…On account a… I’m just sayin…Safety and such…
– I know. Took care of.
Shake my head a little.
– I wait for you to say something, or God forbid actually do anything, be waiting all day wouldn’t I? I love you. I want to be with you all the time. I gave my notice. I’m not going back. I’m with you now on.
Swing off from 27 onto 82 round the village a Holly Beach, all brightly colored rooftops, got stilts and flags and highass balconies all wrap round. Heart done beatin in my chest now, on account a tryin a climb clear out my throat like to jump the tall grass into the damn ocean itself.
– On the apartment? You gave your…?
– Honey. Wait on you I’d be living up there I’m drawing my damn pension! And try not to set us in the ditch! Gator back there look like he ain’t eat in a while.
And then finally turn his attention away from the wildlife yonder, lean across the cab t’ward me, got that big, I’m sayin got that wideass, big ol sweet smile a his goin on. Tuck a lock a his hair back a his perfect ear.
– I told you. I love you.
– I love you. And I know you love me.
Start to fiddlin with the radio we runnin solid now side the ocean, rigs out yonder, under the sky, and God smile, nod his head just a little bit and then turn away to all a his much more pressin business.
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Mark Cassidy was born in the UK and is living at present in Texas/Louisiana.