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Stone Cold

by Luc Reid

I don't know how it happened. A few minutes ago I was in my office, sipping a cup of lukewarm coffee and trying to reconcile the quarterly numbers in the new reporting system, shivering because they have the air conditioning on even though it's cold and raining outside. Then I got distracted, or maybe I was just bored and tired of what I was doing, but I decided to check on my investment portfolio, because of all the volatility lately, and I got on the Web to research something and saw a picture of a small wooden sailboat cresting a brilliant blue swell on a gorgeous sea under a brilliant sun and I thought I want to be there.

Next thing I knew, I was.

It's not that I'm in danger, that's not what bothers me. The sea isn't rough, and without understanding why I know my way around the boat, how to fix the rudder and when to reef the sail and everything, even though I've never done that before. There's dried beef and fishing tackle and raisins and casks of water and rum and dried fruit in the small cabin. The wind strokes my skin, and the sun is making my body warm down to parts that haven't been warm since August.

What bothers me is that I didn't finish those quarterly numbers. I didn't finish my coffee. I was supposed to have my little girls this weekend, and we were going to drive four hours to go to the zoo. I'd just joined a classmates thing on the Web, and I already had an e-mail from Jessica Brown, who I had a crush on in 10th grade before she moved to Alaska. She didn't say anything that made it sound like she was married. Things weren't so bad. It was just an idle wish, wanting to be here. A momentary thing.

A pod of dolphins starts to play around the boat, swimming under it and leaping into the air, shining. In the distance I can begin to make out the green smudge of shore.

Somewhere, my coffee's getting stone cold.

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