She says she wants to go sailing. It is a fine day for it, the breeze bending the thin-limbed ashes and stirring in the larger oaks a liveliness like thousands of fingers at play on the instrument of pleasure.
That there is no body of water sufficient to sustain even the smallest craft would not signify if to sail meant to move over sun-cracked macadam as if indifferent to need, as if borne not on thin-soled rubber shoes but on the air
she might rather use to travel than to breathe. But she means to sail. If the trees were growing wild deep in a wood in which she had found herself on a whim, or had been planted by her hand or that of a forebear, this wish to be on water might not beset her so.
Often it is that way: the wish grows where it will not long survive—how you loved a girl when she was still a girl and could not love but as a girl, how a woman who tells you she wants to go sailing is not
that girl grown, and perhaps is not any other, but simply is, and you must allow her that but do not know how, never having learned not to see all of the man-made boundaries, the blocks of roads of neighborhoods of cities, the ways we rein in everything wild of ourselves and tell the others that we alone are how to be.
-- Lucas Jacob’s work has appeared in a few dozen journals, including Southwest Review, Barrow Street, and Evansville Review, and is forthcoming in various others. A native of Chicago, he now lives, writes, and teaches in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is humbled on a daily basis by his students’ writings.