Didi Oviatt comes up with a photo prompt every month. This Month’s prompt is: Out To Sea. You an read her original post here.
I really enjoy these challenges, thank you for creating them, Didi!
Out To Sea
Due to the poor health of Cara’s mother leading up to her inevitable death, Cara and Michael hadn’t taken a vacation in three years. Michael started to notice Cara’s worn spirit. Her eyes weren’t shining quite as brightly, her smile didn’t reach her eyes, and worst of all, her laugh, that adorable laugh he fell in love with the moment he heard it, it didn’t come all the way from her toes like it normally did when he would poke fun at a b rated movie, mimicking “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” or when he would tell her a dirty joke. He watched the way her shoulders slumped, the way she drug her feet, even her hair seemed flatter than usual. It broke his heart to see his wife so worn and broken, he knows she’s in pain, and he would never rush her healing, but he missed his wife. She was always there to greet him from a long day at work, with open arms, his favorite meal, or wearing nothing but his favorite college football jersey. Somehow, she always knew just what he needed when he needed it. She was always his rock, his confidant, his refuge. Now she needed him more than ever, and he was going to do whatever it took to see her smile that smile that reached her eyes and made him weak in the knees, even if it only lasted a matter of seconds.
He took care of all of the arrangements, booking a room at the quaint little bed and breakfast in Maine she had visited and fell in love with while on a business trip and bought their tickets to go whale watching, something the both of them have always wanted to do.
Cara had tried her best to be elated for her husband. She recognized the efforts Michael put into this surprise for her, and she knew he was trying to lift her spirits. She appreciated it and loved him all the more for it, but the truth was, she was beginning to fear that nothing would kill this ache in her chest, nothing would bring her great joy ever again.
The day had finally arrived and Michael had changed the oil in their Dodge Challenger and filled up the tank the night before. He awoke Cara with a kiss on her forehead and placed a hot mug of coffee in her hands.
“I’d like to be on the road in two hours.” He said.
She nodded her reply, she had never been one to do much talking before her morning coffee. Michael had made a road trip playlist consisting of her favorite songs. He smiled when he’d notice her start to sway in her seat, or tap her foot along in time. It wasn’t his belt out the lyrics, dance in her seat, whip her hair back and forth, Cara, but it was something.
He watched her eyes light up, just a little as they pulled into the driveway of the B&B.
“Oh, Michael.” She gently caressed his cheek until he turned his head to kiss her palm.
Two days later Michael awoke to find the bed next to him, empty. He saw his love standing on the balcony outside their room, she had a cup of coffee in her hands, she was looking up at the sky, and the wind was blowing the Orioles robe he had bought her for her birthday.
He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I have a surprise for you, today.”
“You’re going to spoil me,” she replied, turning in his arms so she could wrap her arms around his neck and hold him tightly to her. When she was feeling low, his arms were the only thing that could comfort her.
“I’d do anything to make you happy.” He kissed her temple and stoked her hair as she rested her head on his chest. He hoped the whales would bring that childlike excitement out of her.
As they approached the boat, he saw a hint of a large smile on her face.She handed her ticket to the tour guide, thanking him for taking them on this tour today. He smiled, no matter what life throws at her, she will always be his extremely sweet, and incredibly kind, Cara.
They had been on the boat for hours with no whale in sight. Michael sighed and Cara stroked his stubble covered jaw.
“It’s okay my love. I appreciate this more than you know.”
Michael smiled down at her and kissed her forehead. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They watched on as the waves rocked the boat. Suddenly, the tour guide pointed and the whale’s fluke whipped out of the water.
Cara jumped up and down and pointed. “DID YOU SEE? MICHAEL, DID YOU SEE IT?” She asked, ecstatically.
Michael’s smile shone brighter than it had in years. “There she is,” he whispered to himself.
“Yeah, I saw it sweetheart.” He chuckled.
She clapped her hands and jumped again, and even the other passengers were smiling at her enthusiasm. They kept watching, the whale had swam so close to the boat they could feel the mist as the whale blew water through its blowhole. The whale swam along next to the boat before jumping out of the water and splashing water into the boat as it dove back into the sea.
Cara laughed, that deep laugh Michael loved so much. He watched his wife hold onto her knees, for balance from the waves or her laughter, he wasn’t sure as that point. He laughed as she stood up, flinging her long, curly, wet hair. She was completely soaked, he knew she had to be cold because he too, was soaked and freezing, but he laughed as he watched his wife start to slip, trying to grab on to the edge of the boat, missing, and falling into the woman next to her.
“I’m. so. Sorry.” She told the woman between laughs.
“That’s quite alright,” the woman replied, laughing along with her.
Michael walked over to help both women to their feet, grabbing Cara and pulling her close to him. “Do you have any idea how happy it makes me to see you so happy?”
She gazed into her husbands eyes, making him feel more loved than he ever had. “Thank you for this.”
“There’s no need to thank me.”
“Yes, there is. I know how hard it must have been for you too. It’s hard because you also lost someone you loved, and it must have hurt you to see me so heartbroken.”
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” He confessed.
She shivered, and wrapped her arms even further around his waist, basking in the warmth his body was emitting. “Yet, you managed to stay strong for me, you held me all those nights when I cried myself to sleep, you told me how proud she was of me for raising a strong and talented woman, you made dinner when I came home and collapsed on the sofa because I didn’t have the energy to tackle anything else that day. You let me sleep in on Saturday mornings and you cleaned the house so I didn’t have to. You were utterly heartbroken because you thought there was nothing you could do to cheer me up, you knew I needed to feel that pain because you understand that pain is essential. You let me have time alone to cry, I know you heard me while you laid in bed, listening to me scream in the shower. You may not have realized that I noticed all of those things, Michael, but I did. I appreciate them more than you know, and I appreciate you, my dear husband, always.”
Michael wasn’t normally one for public displays of affection, but he was so wrapped up in the moment he didn’t care about the onlookers, he lifted her chin with his thumb and forefinger, caressing her jaw with the slightest touch and gazing into her eyes, as deep and blue as the ocean that surrounded them, and he kissed her, passionately.”
Cara gasped in surprise, but kissed him back feverishly. She broke the kiss, leaving Michael wanting more, never in her life had a man made her feel more womanly than he did with the look he was giving her at that moment. She stood on her tip toes and whispered in his ear, “I can’t wait to thank you later,” she paused for tantalization before continuing, “privately.”
The tour guide, tore his transfixed eyes away from the whale only to spot a few pirate ships in the distance.
“Attention, everyone!” The tour guide shouted. “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I’ve just spotted a few pirate ships headed in our direction. They are still miles away, but they are whale poachers. I believe we can get this whale to safety, but we have to act now.”
“Why would any one want to poach a while now?” She asked Michael.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
One of the passengers asked the question everyone was thinking.
There’s a legend that there’s a cave located near here with a pirate ship that sank years ago, aboard the ship is a treasure chest filled with all kinds of treasure, but the chest was covered with some sort of liquid that makes it hidden to the naked eye. The only way you can spot it is with a special lamp that burns humpback whale oil.” The tour guide explained.
“That’s terrible,” Cara piped up, “How can we help?”
The passengers all replied, “Yeah,” in agreement.
“Would you mind coming into the wheel house with me?” The tour guide asked Cara.
She nodded her reply and took a step forward when Michael grabbed her elbow.
She looked back at her husband, reassuringly patting his arm. “It’s alright,” she replied.
Michael looked at her sternly, his eyes warning her not to go.
“I am going to help him save the whale, Michael.” She replied assertively, jerking her elbow out of his grasp and sprinting towards the wheel house.
Michael ran a nervous hand over his face as he watched his wife run off with some stranger. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her, but what if those ships out there were not pirate ships at all, what if the tour guide was planning something all along to get her alone? What if they are pirate ships and they’re closer than he thought? What if there’s a couple he missed that were managing to sneak up behind them? All of these thoughts were running through his head, and his wife just runs off to go rescue a mammal, why wouldn’t she?
“Alright, I’m going to try and get the boat in front of the whale, when I tell you, hit the blue button to the left of the radio. It will emit whale echoes into the speaker under the boat, and the whale should follow. We’ll get it safety, we can move faster than the pirate ship,” the tour guide directed Cara.
She nodded in understanding and waited for his signal.
It was a treacherous task taking the boat into deeper waters than usual, especially with the high waves, but they managed to aid the whale to safety.
Cara walked out of the wheel house to a very angry, awaiting Michael.
“It’s not a big deal,” she told him.
“Maybe not to you. Do you have any idea how worried I was? What if he wasn’t who we thought he was? What if he had taken you hostage or something?”
She scoffed. “What? Michael you are way overthinking this.”
“Cara, people are crazy.”
She didn’t want to argue with him, they were having such a fantastic day, but they still weren’t out of the water yet. They had to make it back to shore before the pirates caught up with them. “I’m sorry I ran off without you.”
“That’s not why I’m angry,” he confessed, looking down at his feet.
She stepped closer to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Tell me,” she whispered.
He sighed in defeat. “I’m angry and upset because you didn’t stop to think of me, you know I’m a ridiculous over thinker, and a chronic worrier, I understand I get out of line and get carried away sometimes, but it’s only because my greatest fear is losing you Cara, I feel like it took an eternity to find you.”
Her face softened at his words. “I’m sorry,” she replied, sounding ashamed.”I just really wanted to help save the whale.”
He lifted her chin for the second time that day. “I know, baby girl. I’m sorry. That compassion is one of the things I love most about you.”
The tour guide managed to get the boat to safety, it was honestly a closer call than he liked to admit, but he played it off well.
As they exited the boat, Michael was the one this time to extend his gratitude, tipping the tour guide rather substantially.
Back at the Bed and Breakfast, Cara thanked Michael, privately just as she had promised, letting her body apologize for upsetting him, rather than her words.
Kristian L. Weigman