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My First Sailing Lesson
by Frederick W. Bassett
It was a beautiful sailboat, forty plus feet long,
docked in a marina with its own locks
that eased it into the tide, whatever its flow.
The vessel belonged to a wealthy trustee
of the Prep School where I worked for a few years.
I'll call him Andy, a generous man,
who'd helped me with a number of projects.
We didn't move in the same social circles,
so I was surprised when he called one autumn day
to invite me to sail the Intracoastal Waterway
with him and his longtime-sailing buddy.
I was even more surprised when we left the marina,
and they devoted their energy to teaching me
how to manage the big wheel without losing the sail.
It was a gorgeous day and a wonderful experience.
The next workday, I raved about my sailing lesson
to my co-worker, who just listened with a big smile
and then said how pleased she was that I enjoyed it.
Years later in a new job, the truth dawned on me.
Andy had married a younger woman,
and my co-worker had married an older man.
Both had a first-grade son, who were best friends.
How quickly the pieces of the puzzle come together.
I could see Maggie arranging the experience,
just as she had arranged her youthful sweetheart's
first gliding lesson and then sat alone on the ground.
Now, here I am an old man, still clueless
about how to express my gratitude to her
for fear my mind has constructed a false story.