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The sky was bright and blinding when I stepped out of the


airport. I felt numb as people pushed past me and an endless stream

of cars flowed by. My grandfather was waiting for me dressed in a

dark grey fleece and sandals that reminded me of my mother’s daggy

fashion sense. He did not look like the man I’d seen in my mother’s

photos. A man flushed with youth, strong and tall with hair like


He held out his hand. It was bony and rough, freckled skin

sagging, thick blue veins bulging out of the backs of his hands. I

shook it. Despite his frail appearance, his grip was strong and

unshakeable. I couldn’t remember how to talk.

To my eyes, accustomed to years of drought and murky brown

waters, it seemed more like an ocean than a river. I could not see

the other side. Blocking my view were countless pink-grey granite

islands engulfed in trees. The water seemed to stretch out forever,

following the curve of the earth to the horizon.

My mother thought that the change in scenery would do me

good. I thought I was past being helped. I didn’t voice that

particular opinion.

“How far away is the cottage?” I yelled, struggling to make my

voice audible over the churning of the engine and the rush of the

wind. My eyes stung.

“Not too far,” he yelled back. He stood, hunched over the steering

wheel in his old age, his face twisted into a smile. I was clueless

when it came to boats, but I knew we were going fast. We were

quickly overtaking all the other boats around us. My hands

tightened around the railing as the boat jerked and jolted over the

waves, its tip rising and falling, sending drops of crystal clear water

spraying everywhere. We were going so fast I could barely register

the shape of the islands passing us by. My head swam, not like when

I was back at home, lying facedown on my bed and feeling so

miserable I couldn’t feel anything at all, but like I was at last alive to

feel my heart threatening to break free from my chest. A blue and

white speedboat veered around the corner, red and blue lights


The policeman flagged us down. A worm of fear tunnelled itself

into my heart. Grandfather slowed the boat to a stop.

“Anchor your boat!” the policeman called out as he steered his

boat beside us.

On The Floor

Of The World

Calida Evans