The boat was old and holey, but that did not matter. They never intended for it to be sea-worthy. Haruto didn’t like to get his feet wet, and Miyu had seen enough leave for the waves who did not return. Neither one of them had a hankering for sea-sickness or for gutting fish or for seaweed tangling the rudder and weighing down the nets.
They had a different goal instead.
The neighbors raised collective eyebrows when the couple hauled the vessel, hull protruding in the air, baring barnacles and showcasing slime.
Haruto and Miyu just nodded, plopped the boat against the workshop’s wall, and disappeared into it without a word of explanation.
They didn’t owe it to anyone and they didn’t know how well the end result would be. Better to keep mum until they saw for themselves how well the idea translated from a dream to action. And the neighbors’ bafflement was fun.
For days they sawed and sparked and banged and nailed. One morning the boat got swallowed by the workshop with only a small bit of the aft sticking out. The next day it was the other end. The smell of primer and varnish and paint permeated the air.
The neighbors mused and wondered. A few doors down the street, Mrs. Adachi placed bets with Mr. Chinen.
Holes were dug in the backyard. A mixture was poured. Poles wedged in.
Mrs. Adachi’s bet went up. Mr. Chinen raised his.
Then one early morning there was a new commotion. Ropes and pulleys, a few curses, far too many bangs.
The neighbors came out. Offered a hand.
By the time breakfast was ready, the boat was securely perched like an awning over a diamond of poles. A hammock strung below, shaded but for a dapple of golden strips of sun. The rudder, painted ruby, pointed to the stars.
And for the next year, Mrs. Adachi was going to have the benefit of Mr. Chinen washing her car. …