Set Sail (A Drabble)


In my senior year of high school, I did a lot of creative writing. They were mostly scenes or short, one page stories, as I found myself having trouble trying to continue with the plot. I don’t know whether it was that I got bored with the plot, or flustered at how difficult it was at times to capture the essence of what I wanted to say into a few select words. Writing is such a beautiful thing. It releases emotions, sets your soul free, and it communicates a part of you for someone else to read. I’ve always loved writing, starting with when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was convinced I was going to publish the novel, if you will, that I wrote over the summer of 2008. It got so serious, I even sent it to be self published, bound in hard copy and everything. For a year or two after, I found myself overwhelmed at how there was so much to write about, and so many ideas to explore, that I stopped writing all together. Finally, through my later years of high school, I found myself returning to the Word document after Word document, watching the blinking cursor replace the white spaces with words. 

I love writing because it’s like a window to my soul. My perspective. How I think, how I exist. So now, I want to share with you a drabble that I wrote last year for a creative writing assignment. Though I love writing, I’ve always been mediocre with grammatical accuracy… a comma splice, or two, just let it slip.


Set Sail 

I reached my hands delicately around the mast, tugging at the woven lines to release the mainsail from its shackles. In that moment, a gust of wind from the east pushed under the sail, which propelled the sailboat forward. Without a delay, I leapt to my feet and to the stern, where I adjusted the tiller to direct him deep into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The wind picked up rapidly, working with the aggravated waves to push the sailboat onward. Salty seawater crashed into the hull of the boat, flooding the laminate wooden floorboards and the soles of my shoes.

Minutes later as the water had calmed, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the bench, with my bare back leaning against the neck of the mast. The waves, which were previously knocking at the boat, ceased, and were replaced by a gentle sway. The slowly setting sun painted a motely of colors in the sky. Hues of reds, pink, lavender, yellow, and orange illuminated the scene, looking like a watercolor portrait. I looked below the sun, and at the water, which was actively reflecting the rays back into the sky. It looked like a sea of mirrors, glassy, crisp, and translucent.

I closed my eyes and allowed blackness to fill where there was once color. In an instant my breath picked up, allowing my other senses to feel even stronger. I could hear the whistle of the wind as it skimmed the top of the ocean water, sending goose bumps up my arms and legs. I could smell the salt infused in the air around me. My skin felt the touch of the setting sun so delicately, like the warm breath of a lover. I was so intertwined with nature, feeling everything to its purest intention.

My mind drew back to memories of my childhood summer vacations. Every summer we would travel to our family home in Lombardy, Italy. From the break of morning to when the sun would reach the horizon, I spent my time on Lago Como, sailing with my uncle.

“Dai! Dai!” he would call, signaling me to join him on the water. And since then, I couldn’t separate myself from it. Now here I am, Leo Coppola, twelve years later at age twenty-one, and my passion is even greater than before.

I opened my eyes to see the sun at rest and the moon awake in the night. Starting up the propeller, I redirected the tiller and set sail for shore.


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