We hurried down to the docks, just the two of us, sneaking away from the busy-ness and worry of everyday life. Like teenagers skipping the last class of the day, we had closed our laptops, kissed our children, and left the dinner dishes and sleeping baby in Grandma's capable hands. We giggled all the way to the car, rolling it out of the driveway silently so as not to alert the preschooler intent on his playdough creation with Grandpa. We laughed and talked as we drove through our neighborhood, the wrong way, away from our children at the end of the day. A bit of wistfulness as we passed the preschool where our child would soon attend quickly disapated as we talked about what the evening might hold in store for us. Ourselves.
For tonight was our night, and we would spend it together as the people we were once, as Sam and Chris*, not as the Mommy and Daddy we had become. It had been a long time since we'd shed those identities, just for a night, and gone out to play somewhere that wasn't childproofed, kidsafe, and a delight for the under-five set. But we had decided that tonight was the night, and so off we went, to have a lovely last night together before chemo.
We arrived in Annapolis just before the tourists, or so I liked to think, sat on the wall outside the Market Inn, eating takeout crab cakes and freshly made fudge. Laughing easily, we talked to strangers, smiled at babies, and told the purebreds that they were "good dogs" as they strutted by with tails held high. As the park began to fill up with the after-work crowd, we checked our watches and hurried down to the docks.
The cruise would be full tonight, as it is nearly every night, here at summer's end. Each day, the Woodwind I and II make four trips out and around the Chesapeake Bay, sailing just far enough to give us citydwellers, suburbanites, and tourists a taste of the open sea. Then, with spray dotting our foreheads and wind whipping our shoulders, the crew turns around to take the laughing, happy group back to shore. A quick turn around the Naval Academy and some time floating gently home complete the trip.
And it was a beautiful trip. I don't know how the crew maintains the magic, trip after trip, day after day, but the 2 hours we spent on the water that night were magical for us, a husband and wife, off playing hooky from their children.