She tied her kayak to the roof of her car. One day she will buy that nifty little Swedish rack she’d been eying. This homemade creation will have to do for now… she supposed.
It was still dark, but she knew the sun would start showing it’s face by the time she’d make her way to the river. She loved this moment. It was her favorite part of the day. She always felt like she was stealing fleeting moments, when the world was still fast asleep including her husband (which she could hear snoring even from outside the house) her headlights being the only visible sign of life.
Often she’d cross her next door neighbor. Usually they’d exchange a knowing smile, an exchange from one addict to another. Her addiction was to her exercise routine. His love was the casino. Until she moved here she never understood why they stayed open 24 hours a day. He must have gotten home earlier, she didn’t see him this morning…
She also hoped to be the first to touch the river. The Eastern Rowing Club had an even stricter regime than hers. More often than not, they left the river before the sun even glimpsed it. Although she hated it when they touched the river before she did, she enjoyed paddling by them. Their exchange was similar to that with the neighbor, the knowing smile, the underlying acknowledgment. She paddled alone, they rowed in teams. But it was the same. That sensation of being one with the river, the daily escape, the stolen vacation time before work, and being the only ones to get so close to the loons, so close…
Only they could understand this addiction. This need. This pull. Anybody else rolled their eyes and laughed behind her back. “Only the crazies and the bakers are up before 5 in the morning!”
Today was a special day though. Today was her birthday and she promised herself a different journey on the river. Every day was the same, start off against the current, cross the rowing club quickly gliding down the river, make zigzags through the moored sailboats slowing down by her favorites: The Majestic (she always wondered if he owned a Corvette, you know compensating for other stuff); The Settlement (a divorced boat owner); That’s What She Said (that owner was certainly a fan of The Office); Weeping Willow (a sad but magical name for a boat) and of course her all time favorite – Restless Soul.
She would not admire these boats today. This was a trip she’d been dreaming of since her first outing on the river. Her friends and family warned her, it would take forever to find her if anything every happened… She was finally taking that anticipated little journey wandering inside the depths of Spider Island. She looked it up on the map, it was a deep U shaped island. She was thrilled and excited. And scared. It also meant her journey started down stream making her return so much more challenging. But she was ready.
She saved her energy and stamina for the struggle against the waves on her return and slowly let her kayak glide down towards the mouth of the island. Her heart was beating a mile a minute. Her palms were sweaty. Or maybe just wet from the splashing of the waves, she didn’t care. Her smile was proof of her giddy excitement. What could the inside of the island reveal?
Once she made her way in, her eyes could not open big or wide enough. Fallen trees were dramatically posing halfway in the water propped up by huge rocks. Spiders had webbed their way through the branches, glowing in the early rays of sun, it was… magical. She cursed herself for forgetting her camera. No problem, she vowed to come back again and again.
She looked at her watch, it was getting late. She u-turned and headed back towards the mouth. “Sorry little island, today isn’t the day you swallow me…” she quickly decided to turn north and extend her journey by exploring the other side of the island. The side she’d never seen. By then it was past 8:30, the waves were fully awake, the sun was hot and bright and she was out of breath. Much more challenging than she ever thought but she was jazzed from seeing the inside…
She barely had the strength to throw the kayak on top of her car, silently cursing as if the 45-pound kayak had gained weight from this little journey…
She turned the final corner and saw the flashing lights. She almost came to a halting stop when she realized those lights came from her house. “What the…?” Slowly she made her way home, and parked 2 houses down. Police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, the entire emergency crews and units from the city must have been there. “What the hell?” repeated itself over and over like a broken record in her brain.
“Are you Julie Drouin?”
“Yes, but what…”
“Mrs Drouin, you are under arrest for the murder of your husband, anything you say can and will be” her screams interrupted what he’d repeated way too many times to other people.
“What? What the hell are you saying? Wh-what happened?”
This is my Magpie Tale. I am letting you hang because it’s fun (insert evil laugh here). And I do apologize for the length of this post. Obviously I miss the days where I paddled out alone on the river… Could you tell?