Returning On My Own Terms

“I think we should spend some time apart,” she says. Like a kick in the stomach. My last tie to this place, severed. I sit in a tiny house on the edge of an ocean that I crossed to be with her.

My web history fills with searches for design and modeling software, marine supply companies, bulk wood, electronics. I bid on military-surplus radar systems, bilge pumps, and fuel tanks. A fish-finder becomes navigational sonar; an engine from a 1978 Dodge becomes the main powerplant.

The hull comes together without incident. I cover the treated lumber with fiberglass, then cut holes for the inboard motor. I send a computer file to a local machine shop and they send back a precision-milled propeller. I can’t imagine anyone building a boat themselves before the information age.

I wire a freezer and fridge into the electrical system, and stock the pantry with canned food. The freshwater tank gets filled from my garden hose.

I put her in the water, eleven months to the day after the breakup. Time to go home.

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