the pearl

26 Miles Across The Sea

It wasn't raining that night. That couldn't be an excuse. It wasn't raining, the deck wasn't slippery, the waves weren't choppy, it was a clear brilliant Southern Californian autumn night, with enough nip in the air to wear a jacket, but never enough to not go sailing.

They had been fighting. RJ and Nat were fighting because of Stephanie and Chris and RJ and Chris were fighting because of Nat and Nat and Chris were fighting because of RJ and it was all being brought of from a bottle of wine. Or two. Or three. Or possibly more, with scotch added into the mix as well, sloshing in soured bellies.

It was a circle a sphere a strange little roundabout way that shivered and stroked its way through their lives. William was dead and Stephanie was upset and RJ was her costar and Nat was his wife and Chris was her costar and Chris liked to tease and Nat wanted a life of her own and RJ wanted his wife back home and Stephanie wasn't even on the boat, she just kept on being mentioned.

It felt like a schoolyard game of sorts. Chris likes Nat likes RJ likes Nat likes Chris likes RJ likes Nat likes Chris likes likes likes likes —

Do you like me, circle yes or no.

Is the dinghy making too much noise, circle yes or no.

Will you go and tie it down, circle yes or no.

So RJ was arguing and Chris was arguing and Nat didn't want to argue any more, because she had had enough and, besides, Chris was taking her side anyway, which would just get RJ angrier because he knew that Nat and Chris had something going on on-set just like Nat knew that RJ and Stephanie had something going on on-set. Nat didn't want to argue anymore, because she was drunk and fed up and that sleeping pill was sour and undigestable in her stomach as she tossed and turned and heard the noises of the argument shift and spin in the night, beat back and forth between wave after wave with the dinghy marking the beat.

When you fight, it's like you're fucking.

When you fuck, it's like you're fighting.

And she screws her eyes shut and bites her lip and remembers the taste of Chris's sweating shoulder and his perfect kissable mouth and she knows that they're not arguing anymore the way they were arguing before.

To think she spent all her time worrying about Stephanie.

And there were moans and grunts and bang bang bang went the dinghy and bang bang bang went their fucking and bang bang bang went her temper until she couldn't take any of it and she couldn't understand any of it and it all just spun and swirled and twisted around her before she realized she grabbed her coat and went out to the boat and the rope was too bulky for her hands and the water too cold and damnit, she never got to catch them in the act.

This Real Person story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at