What can YOU say in six sentences?
She survived the shark attack, the deep bite severing major nerves and arteries beneath her left arm, a More Magazine story that was interesting not for the way this woman dealt with physical but with the mental and emotional assault of the attack.
What really stayed with me weren't the emergency measures taken to save her life or the blood color of the water, but of her swimming to the boat only seconds after the shark let go, knowing she was being followed, looking back to see her left arm dragging behind, just a phantom.
I thought about this woman while drinking coffee every morning in Martha's Vineyard, while sitting near a large open window with a cheap Bic pen and small journal, my feet pulled inside the cocoon of a white wicker chair. It was the only "me" time on the trip and I spent it studying my troubled marriage, describing my husband with only nouns and visuals like: The History Channel, Civil War Times, Watch and Flex magazines, a dryclean only wardrobe and watch collection with tiny metal hearts assembled meticulously under magnifying lenses.
I did the same exercise with myself, a far more difficult task to cut the person I am now into dispassionate pieces because so much of the familiar is gone, sold, traded or thrown away -- a small house by the water, its blue trim and red rooms, Gustav Klimt prints and wooden cats, silver jewelry instead of gold, a small fishing town with outdoor markets, soothing brine and wise old trees.
During the trip back home a frail Japanese woman was loaded into the small Cessna 402 that would take us to Boston; her left side was limp but she was proud and tried to help as I knelt to gently pull her in, then I said, "I've got you" so that we would both feel safe.