The four of us with two yellow paddles on blue sticks, pushed off from the shore. The water was murky green from a distance, but translucent and congealed up close — like slicing lime gelatin with an oar. The day was bright making colors hyper real, digitized. The blue of a cloudless sky was light and detached in contrast to the green of mangrove leaves, of the intracoastal, of our forest green metal canoe, which seemed to pull hard against the air, weighing down. The sun slapped me against the face; heavy-handed beams blinded me.
The canoe wobbled right and left under our amateur strokes as we glided past mangrove roots, which at low tide, seemed apologetic and sad. Like emaciated grey arms, they stretched toward the seawater for respite, but the tide pulled back. King Tantalus eternally doomed to be unquenched —- to stretch for fruit and bend for water that recedes. Black sea crabs laid siege to the feeble roots, crawling the limbs freely like soil bugs on a cadaver. This morose image was so out of place amidst the vibrancy of the day, and so was heightened the more for it.
We leaned to watch the fish skitter. The silver minnows were so plentiful and unending in their stream that the shallow water seemed to be made of their metallic reflections, as if the movement of the minnows created the water itself, created the ripples.
The canoe slid under a tunnel of corrugated metal, topped with sandbags, then cement. Pedestrians walked atop the bridge as we swept past beneath. “Helloooo” we called, and for the moment our timelines intersected with theirs.
We called the tunnel our time machine and pretended it threw us five seconds ahead into the future. Five seconds stretched and preserved in the details.