The shiny wooden sea rolled on, we peered at it from the safe haven of our raft. The raft was a circular beacon of hope in the never-ending danger of the yellowy oak sea. The storm rolled on plunging the sky into darkness, the sun slowly being taken over by the blackness. The four of us whisper in shrill tones, excited by the danger and mystery. Tiny hands held in tiny hands, curly locks wild in their own rights. The eyes wide with the wonder only a child could possess, taking in their surroundings and projecting back a whole new world. The purple and green plaid circle was the only source of life until we see it in the distance, we huddle together unsure if it’s just a trick our eyes are playing on us. No, there it is! The thing that can save us. The ship was magnificent and glowing. The gray-whiteness of the hull calling to us through the storm. We knew we only had one choice, so we leapt agilely on our little feet and prayed our thin legs were strong enough to propel us to safety. Four bodies hit the deck with a soft thud followed by muffled laughter. We all made it!
“Don’t jump on the couch!” A cry is heard. Like magic the voice has lifted the darkness and a light fills the room once again. Once our eyes adjust to the brightness we realize that our sea is gone along with our ship and our raft. In its place is the rustic cabin living room, complete with taxidermy fish hung like trophies on the walls. Their marble eyes taking in the scene with dull curiosity. Our mighty raft is once again an old plaid carpet, bleached by the sun but still proclaiming its hideous colors, as ugly as ever. The magnificent ship, once again, becomes the most comfortable overstuffed couch that has ever had the honor of residing in a home. Finally, the four weary ship wreck survivors turn back into cousins, as close as siblings.
Laughter ensues as we scramble back down to explore some more and see what this new, yet familiar world will bring us. The circular, purple rug orienting our center is now mission control and the chairs are rockets. The four of us laugh and create anything and everything. Our every wish could come true on that floor. Two young children taking command and showing the two younger children the ropes. Imagination flowing from every pore as we talked, painting pictures with our minds. The two youngest would squeeze their eyes shut as tight as they could and try to absorb our creative energy. Us oldest would laugh and create on, encouraged by our captive audience.
Our laughter pierced the still summer air. The stickiness of the humidity and the song of the cicadas’ become the backdrop to our play. Two pairs of bigger feet stomp the ground, shaking the earth as our mother's laughed from their seats in the corner. Wine glasses clink and dark red liquid splooshes dangerously close to the edge. Their beautiful, garbled speech pierced only with laughs and shouts of “Don’t jump off the chairs!” becomes part of the magic. From their corner, they watched and protected. Guarding our secret worlds like the mystic witches they were. Little did they know that they were our mentors as well.
Their happiness and love flowed like their wine and their laughter taught us all we needed to know. Their sleepy grins promoted our play and we knew that no matter what world we ended the day in. Our heads resting on the carpet or the smooth oak floor, too tired to even remove our imaginary pirate hats, our great guardians would be there to lift us up and carry us to bed. Fueling our dreams with images of flying and adventures in the stars. Then they would kiss our foreheads, sealing in the magic, before closing the door and letting us recharge. We always knew the next day would be filled with just as much promise and new memories to be made with our protectors there. Our wonderful goddesses filled with love and ingenuity, our brave Viking rulers ready to lead the siege, our beautiful Gypsy healers teaching us to dance, and, best of all, our mothers ready to kiss our scraped knees and chase the darkness away with light.
Looking back now as an adult, I will always remember those summers when we piled into that cabin. The magic spark is still there shimmering in the oak floors, just waiting for a new generation to absorb it. Now I too sit and drink wine with my mother and my aunt. The magic is now in our connection and our friendship. My cousin's never far away, as they pull out the board games and join in with their own beautiful laughter. We all look longingly towards the sofa, the sags in the cushions fondly remembering our little feet from where we bounced against our mothers' wishes.