A Sail Boat for Two

conversations with hank


Molly: (wailing) Mama! Mãe (mom)! Maaaama!

Me: Alright, hush now. Molly, hush. (picking her up for the third time out of her crib and sitting down with her in the rocking chair)

Hank: (sleepy) It’s okay, mana (sister). Molly is having a hard time staying asleep.

Me: It’s the heat. Shhhhhh.

Molly: (deep, stuttered breath)

Hank: It’s okay, mana (sister). It’s time you set sail for Bedfordshire.

Molly: (crying)

Me: Hush now.

Hank: You don’t have to go alone. You can ride in my boat. Can’t she, mama?

Me: That is a wonderful idea.

Hank: Mana (sister), listen. I will help you take off your shoes.

Molly: (calming down) Shoes.

Hank: And then I will take off mine and we will get into the sail boat together. I will untie the boat and you can steer, you like to steer.

Me: You steer the boat with a rudder. You point the rudder toward the Island of Bedfordshire. Just past the setting sun, can you see it Molly?

Hank: You steer and I will work the sails and then you can pick the cabin and the dock. You just steer to a dock in front of a cabin with the porch light off and when you make our choice I will tie up the boat, help you out, grab our shoes…

Molly: Shoes.

Hank: And we will walk down the dock to the cabin.

Me: And the door will be unlocked. You open the door slowly and then…

Hank: Before closing the door you turn the porch light on. That way other people traveling to Bedfordshire know we are in our cabin. And there will be two beds, our perfect size, just for us and pajamas at the end of our bed. I will help you brush your teeth and wash your face. I will help you put on your pajamas and tuck you in bed then I will sing to you, (singing)

Stay away don’t rest your head
Don’t lie down upon your bed
You’re not sleepy as can be
Stay awake don’t nod or dream
Stay awake don’t nod or dream.

(quieting his voice) Then I will put on my pajamas and tuck myself in bed and we will both have our very best dreams and wake up in the morning so fresh and happy and we will go out the back door and… And… what’s the next part, mama?

Me: The birds will be singing and the bees will be buzzing about happily working.

Hank: Bees never pica (sting) on the Island of Bedfordshire. And we will find a blooming apple tree and under in the shade we will find our best breakfast. Yogurt for you because I hate yogurt and fruit and torrada (toast) and chocolate milk for me and a bottle of milk for you and we will eat and listen to the birds and the sea. And then it will be time to go. We will find our clothes folded at the bottom of our beds and I will help you get dressed and we will take our shoes and leave out the front door and turn the porch light off, close the door, walk down the beach and I will help you on to the boat. You will steer and I will untie and we will sail away from the dock and into our day. (pause) Is she sleeping, mama?

Me: Tá quase (almost). You are a very good story teller, Hank.

Hank: I learned it from you.

Me: (smiling in the dark, rocking Molly)

Hank: Mama, do you also go to the Island of Bedfordshire?

Me: Yes, of course. That is how I know about it. I have been going for years.

Hank: How did you know the way?

Me: Once you find it you know the way.

Hank: I never see you there, mama.

Me: That is because I set sail later than you. Once I park my boat I often wonder while I am walking across the white sand beach which cabin you’re in and in the morning if you are enjoying your breakfast, but then I know you will tell me when I see you back at home. (standing up with a sleeping Molly, laying her down in her bed, walking over to Hank and kissing him goodnight)

Hank: Love you, mama. Happy sailing.

Me: Love you, Hank.

Hank: I will leave a heart in the sand for you.

Me: How clever and perfect.

Hank: Don’t worry about Molly.  I’ll take care of her.

Me: I have no doubt you will.  Happy sailing.