Storm Warning

By Rose Ann Sinay

Friends and I decided to crash a local Mediums’ Convention. None of us believed in fortune tellers. It had just seemed like a fun thing to do – like bringing out the Magic 8-Ball at a sleep over when we were teenagers. Though we wouldn’t admit it, we secretly hoped to hear that we would soon meet the men of our dreams, each of us would have a boy and a girl, and all of us would have successful careers. We searched the room filled with self-proclaimed psychics for the perfect purveyor of our dreams.

The woman I chose looked like anybody’s grandmother.

“I’m getting a strong reading,” she said immediately. You have a boat – an old boat. You must be very careful. It’s been in several . . . mishaps.”

I turned around to see if someone was standing behind me. Was she talking to me? This was not the conversation I had imagined.

“I see concrete steps in an open field. No house; just steps.”

“You must be getting someone else’s vibe,” I said. Disappointed, I moved to the next table.

***

“Let’s take a walk on the dock before we eat,” my husband suggested when we arrived at our favorite seafood restaurant. It was a beautiful evening, and the marina was dotted with an assortment of boats casting their reflections on the silky calm water.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to go sailing on the weekends?” Terry asked. “It’s something we could do together.”

“We can dream about it,” I said admiring the yachts in their slips.

He pointed to an older wooden boat. It was streamlined and cut low for speed. Its white canvas was furled around the mast. Terry had the same expression on his face as he did when he looked at a coveted golf club, Red Sox tickets, or a juicy prime rib.

“The one with the blue trim?” I asked eyeing the fiberglass beauty floating just beyond the sailboat. It was bigger than the older boat, had a good-sized engine, and sat much higher out of the water. I could picture myself lounging on the cushions while a gentle breeze blew my hair into a sexy tousle.

My husband shook his head. “That’s a powerboat. We’re going to sail through life. Happy first anniversary,” he said with a smile, knowing he’d just delivered a romantic line.

I bought it – hook, line and sinker.

***

Surprisingly, sailing wasn’t the chore I thought it would be. I learned how to tack, come about and trim the sails. I deftly ducked the boom and was able to raise the jib for maximum speed in a light breeze. The wind in my hair left a knotted mess instead of a sexy tousle, but I didn’t mind. It was fun working the boat as a team.

We hadn’t planned to be out so long that particular day, but time had just slipped by. We barely noticed when the wind turned up a notch. But, when thick black clouds seemed to come out of nowhere, it was cause for concern. Within minutes, we were traveling faster than we’d gone before. We cut through the (now) slightly choppy water like a shark on a mission.

Terry turned the rudder to luff the sails, slowing our speed, and allowing us to change the direction of the boat. We scrambled when a large powerboat raced by us close enough to create a wake that made our small boat heave back and forth as our sails waffled. My husband regained control of the lines and began to tack into the wind. Fat raindrops fell from the dark fast-moving clouds. The wind continually changed direction. At the rate we were going, it would take hours to get back to shore.

I pulled on the mainsail rigging and felt a pulley at the

top of the mast let go. In a frenzy of activity, we managed to get the sail down and lashed. After a few minutes, we realized the wind was too strong and unpredictable for our skills; we needed to lower the jib, as well. We would have to use the small motor saved for windless moments.

Terry lowered the motor in place. The first pull on the cord produced nothing; the second – not even a cough. The fortune teller’s comments (from the convention years ago) came back to me like a strike of lighting: you have an older boat . . . mishaps . . . you need to be very careful. On the third pull, the motor sputtered, but caught. It propelled us forward at a snail’s pace. The tiny engine wasn’t meant to power through a storm, but it could buy us time for it to pass.

Finally, we reached the cove, but we weren’t home free. Between the swirling currents and altering winds, we had to maneuver our boat to the mooring without hitting any of the anchored vessels. I ran to the bow and laid across the top in time to push us away from the blue-trimmed beauty I had coveted months before. A few more close calls and we were in position to grab the anchored buoy. My husband quickly attached the boat to the mooring. We sat motionless for a moment letting the rain wash over us.

I started to giggle. We could have been knocked overboard, eaten by sharks, or tangled in seaweed. I had been too busy to be scared out of my mind. I had actually used my body as a buffer for the boats! Between my trembling knees and fits of uncontrollable laughter, I barely made it into the dinghy.

That night, as I lay in my bed safe and sound, I thought about the psychic’s warning. Was it just coincidence?  Had her words actually been meant for me? Either way, we had “weathered” a storm and come out of it a little stronger and a lot smarter.

As for the cement steps in an open field – well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay

    Rose Ann Sinay

    Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer newly relocated to Connecticut. She continues to write about moments worth remembering, graciously provided by family and friends.

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9 Responses to “Storm Warning”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Well you sure kept me spell bound. Glad you made it backs safely.

  2. pam martin says:

    I read all of Ro’s stories. I love them all but the one I can relate to the best is her story on being directionally challenged. I could have written the story myself! Keep up the great work Roseanne!

  3. Diane says:

    Another great read! Love them all❤️

  4. Erika Hoffman says:

    Very frightening story! You’re brave to sail!

  5. Betsy says:

    Great story, felt I was right out in that boat with you and Terry.

  6. Colleen says:

    Another great adventure! Made my heart pound and some chuckles too.

  7. alice muschany says:

    The vivid descriptions of your struggle had me in the boat with you guys. Glad there was a happy ending. I too went to a psychic very apprehensive. She hit the nail on the head on so many things, I am now a true believer. And yes, sometimes the predictions that I poo-pooed away happen years later.

  8. Mary Ann Crimi says:

    Although we no longer share face-to-face, I am happy you continue to share your stories with your beautiful writing.

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