Written for Write the Story
Harry Harris had moored Niña, his Rhodes 22, at Swamp-Donkey Marina on the windward shore of Dancing Key in December of 1999. He hadn’t moved it again since. In those days, he had worried about all that Y2K shit, but his anxiety had been for nought – nothing had ever come of it. Dancing Key was a fine place to live and less expensive than Key West. His friend, Osvaldo, had a crab shack outside the marina gates. And the beautiful and most interesting Señorita Merisol Ibarra ran a watering hole called The Angels Trumpet right next door to that. At La Trompeta, the rum flowed freely, and the girls were friendly. Why would Harry want to go anywhere else? He’d finally found his home.
It was just before dawn in late September when Harry and Merisol again found themselves together on deck. They were enjoying the intimate afterglow that usually accompanied their rendezvous. Harry was occupied, pondering the funny way of pluralizing rendezvous when Merisol leaned into him with her unlit cigarette. Coquettishly she intimated the need for a light. He loved when she smiled, so he watched her face as he groped blindly for the lighter.
With her cigarette lit, she reached down and rubbed his leg, “¿Harry, podrías hacerme un Cuba Libre?”
He nodded, rose, and padded below decks, naked except for his old Marlins cap, pulled low over his eyes. When he came back topside, he carried two glasses coated with condensation and filled with light rum, Coke, and lime. When he stepped back on deck, he saw the excitement on her face. She was almost bouncing on the gunwale, waving her hand to the southeast.
“Look, Harry, look!” she almost shouted, “Un tormenta. A storm, a storm is coming! I adore storms, don’t you?”
Harry did like storms. Not quite as much as Marisol liked them, but he was glad that she liked them. Harry was up for it and walked past Marisol to sit on the transom, plonking his size 11’s on the lazarette hatch. He held her glass out, and she scooted closer to take it, her feet up on the bench seat.
They sat watching the storm approach. Lightning silhouetted the clouds, the pilings, and Low Anchor Key that lay to the east. As the storm drew close, Harry paid more attention to Marisol than he did to the impending storm. He watched as the raindrops began to fall on her skin and pool in the hollow of her neck above her clavicle, watched as her dark hair grew heavy with raindrops and hung lower, softer, watched as she sipped her drink and as her eyes grew wider as she bit on her lower lip. Harry jumped with her when the lightning flashed, and she started when the thunder clapped overhead. He grew aroused as she moved closer, fitting her body to his.
He wanted the storm to last all night. He wanted Marisol to say aboard Niña all night, something she had never done before. For reasons unexplained, she would always leave before dawn. Marisol was constantly returning home to her ramshackle cottage back behind the bar.