Kicked Off the Boat
By: Kendi Wolever
Six months ago, a relationship I had been romantically involved in for the better part of seven years came to an end. That relationship is a subject that I may have the urge to write about eventually, but today is not that day. However, my life since that difficult January night has been nothing less than interesting to say the least. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, and it’s mind blowing to see how much change can happen in such a short amount of time. I moved to a new city where I hardly knew anyone. I work with new people and new customers and I drive down new streets and sit in new coffee shops. Life in my new place of residence has been fun and exciting but sometimes, when I slow down, it can get pretty lonely. I’m a pretty independent person and I enjoy exploring things on my own. I never feel the need to wait on anyone else if I want to go see a new movie or try a new restaurant, or go see Selena Gomez (which I totally did alone and it was awesome.) But there have definitely been those days when I jump right back into bed after a long morning at work and mope about my singleness for hours at a time. Thoughts fill my imagination of how everyone has someone to hang out with except for me, and somewhere wedged between my dog and my bedsheets, there’s a bottle of wine hiding somewhere. I’m definitely not miserable by any means, actually far from that. But as I am enjoying this new chapter of learning who I am on my own, it can be scary sometimes. After thinking at one point that I would be married by age 21 with like, a million babies, I’m now single at 25, and seemingly so far from forming my own family. I’m caught between mocking the photos of engagement rings that flood my newsfeed, and coveting the big ol’ diamond that’s gracing all of the freshly pampered fingers. My customers and coworkers have to hate me every time I halt the line at the register while swooning over the toddler who just ordered his own cakepop. When will it be my turn to post that perfectly shot black and white photo of my husband twirling me around in my wedding gown? When will I get to shed tears of joy for the first time I get to snuggle my own child’s warm, squishy little body? These kinds of thoughts and fears like to dance their way into my subconscious, causing me to go into mini states of panic.
A few weeks ago, some of my new Tulsa friends and I went to Lake Tenkiller together. It was my first time ever experiencing a “day out at the lake” like a real Oklahoman. I got to ride on top of a boat for the first time, I watched my friends jump into the water from the top of cliffs, (key word, watched. No way, no heck I was going to do that.) We spent all day on the dock, drinking and laughing, listening to music, feeling the warm sun beat down on our shoulders and cheeks. I learned to drive a sea-doo and I braved my way into going max speed, jumping and riding the wakes. I fought the best kind of exhaustion and my smile felt permanent as I was having the most fun I’d had in too long. I didn’t want the day to be over, and I was sad knowing that it had to end. As the day drew to night, my friends who own the water equipment started to wind down and pack their things, ready to head home. My disappointment must have been painted on my face because they gave me and our other friend the go-ahead to stay and ride as long as we wanted to before going home. Of course I lit up and accepted the invitation and as everyone else left for the night, we stayed on the dock for a while longer. He was also reaching a state of exhaustion, moving closer and closer to being ready to go home. However, the inner toddler that I suppose still exists in me was able to coax him into racing me with the sea-doos just one more time. I felt like a little kid as I restarted my engine and made my way out past the no-wake zone water buoy.
We lost track of time and raced until we took the hint that it was time to go home: his boat ran out of gas. We hooked his boat to the back of mine and he demanded that I let him drive us back to the dock while I sat bored on the back of the dead boat. I suppose this was my punishment, but instead of sitting upright on the boat like an adult, I laid myself back on the seat, enjoying the gorgeous sky that was starting to dim above me. We were moving slow enough that I felt confident enough to kick my feet up on the handles and balance on the seat while feeling the soft rocking of the water beneath me. All I heard was the humming of the engine and the swooshing of the waves as I gazed at the beauty that was surrounding me. I thought about how lucky I was to have formed new friends, and how grateful I was to be able to call the guy I was with now one of my bests. I was captivated by the beauty around me, and the joys I had experienced this day with people I was beginning to love. Despite any feelings of loneliness and despair I may have felt through the many nights leading up to this one, in this moment, I felt content. I was so happy. And in this moment of pure bliss, as my mind was swept and taken away into a land of gratitude, we hit a really big wake. Despite all of the crunches I’ve done to strengthen my core, the left side of my body could not find the strength to keep me from rolling off of the right side of the sea-doo and into the water that was just a second ago, soothing me beyond measure. I was plummeted back into reality, as I was now alone in the middle of the lake, and my friend was now hundreds of feet ahead of me.
I didn’t quite know what to do, so I started laughing. And laughing. And laughing. I could not find the strength to yell for my friend and even if I did, he couldn’t hear me over the sound of his boat. I watched him go as his long hair flowed in the wind, and the empty boat behind him rocked back and forth in it’s own state of solitude. I floated there alone in the water, unable to breath. Not from drowning, thank heavens, but from laughing so hard. Laughing at the unbelief that I was capable of falling off of something going seven miles per hour. Laughing at the fact that my friend still hadn’t noticed. (As I was laughing, I experienced a short moment of panic - realizing that any second now, a boat may come and unintentionally obliterate me with it’s underparts.) But then, amid my continued laughter, I see my friend stop, slowly turn his body around in confusion, and throw his hands in the air as his eyes finally find his way to me as if to ask, “what in the world are you doing?!” So he turned our boats around and puttered his way back to me and when he was close enough to see me laughing, he started laughing too. And we just stayed still for what felt like an eternity, laughing at the state we were in before I finally struggled my way back onto my boat, and finally sat upright like an adult.
I guess my point is, and the way all of this relates to one another, that no matter where you’re at in your life, whether the “moment” you’re in is pure bliss or you’re sad and lonely, there will at some point be a time that you get kicked off of your boat. Where your moment will be disrupted, and you can either choose to laugh uncontrollably or you can panic. In my case, I think I’ll try to look at my new singleness as an opportunity to laugh. To find joy in the photos of my happy couple friends, and to squeeze the heck out of my nieces and nephews who I adore so greatly. To see new things and love on new people. To be grateful for the memories I’ve had, and to be ecstatic for the new ones to come. To be happy in the state that I’m in, because it won’t be the same someday. And I probably am gonna miss it.