Wonder and a Mystery at the End of a Pier

The beach with the cement ship. That’s how I thought of it, the place where my family would go for a week every summer. A wonder of the world and a shipwreck mystery right there at the end of a pier. How can that boat be real? And of course it sunk — it was made of cement, after all.

These were the summer days that never ended, so there was endless talk of making it on to that ship, under cover of darkness maybe, or early in the morning before anyone else was up. We also thought nothing of it — because we were too busy chasing waves or frisbees or lost kites. How I wish I could weave into my current now a sliver of the expanse of time not beholden to the setting of the sun.

My brother now vacations with his family on that beach. I joined in on the fun for a few days two summers ago. The trip was quick, the days short. I hatched no plans to visit the ship under cover of darkness, but I did make a point of checking it out on my runs. It held a different kind of wonder to me — a constant in the swirl of waves and time. The infinite of the ocean crashing into the sturdiness of a wrecked cement ship. It was still there.

A few weeks back I got a call from my mom. There have been big storms, she explained. And had I seen the news? The cement ship has been sunk, on account of the huge waves. I told her I had heard about the bad weather, but not about cement ship. We both agreed, it was very sad.

A cement ship, broken. When you break countless waves, eventually, you break no more, and completely, in the exactitude of a moment slipping away.

That cement ship, never to sail again so long ago, was just on endless summer time.

Jeffrey Yamaguchi

BODY OF WATER: Photos / Haikus on Instagram | Writings

Endless summer days
wrecked at the end of a pier
cement ship sails on