“What was his problem?”
That morning waves rippled softly, so that he could lay his head on the warm boards, without any risk of coward blows or arrhythmias. With his ear leaned he could hear the sounds gathered by the sea and raised by the wood: a motorboat, the oars moving the water, the stones thrown by his cousin.
The others could even think he lay with closed eyes.
His eyes were open instead, and everything he saw remained constricted between the white hem of his hat and the bow’s edge: the line between the open water and sky, the summer’s comeback, the swash of water against the hull, sea finally, the sun pressing against the boat and all that anger he had had.
“Come and look! There’s a school of white breams here!”
He wanted to stay angry. He became even more irritated, because of sulking he had to turn down white breams.
“Can I give you some sunscreen?”- said his mother.
He wanted them to insist inviting him to a surrender just to keep punishing them with his refuse. He wanted to feel once again the anger’s derangement that rode his stomach: a disdain for everything and everyone and, at the same time, an outstanding fondness for those who were hurt by his rage.
“Do you want to use my fishing pole?”- said his uncle.
With silence he wanted to provoke and force them to humiliate themselves and apologize… but for what?
“Leave him alone, he’s just acting up”- said his father.
And resentment grew more and more, for it was true: those were all tantrums. What was wrong? That drawing he failed the night before? The fear he still have of high water? Or his cousin, stronger than him?
He knew he demanded conciliation for offenses he never suffered.
How could he desist now? The pride that thwacked him face down on the prow was as tall as a man and prevent him from turning around.
Tears began to emerge, those tears that appear even without sobs.
“Forgive me for asking you to jump, before”- her mother, once again.
He felt such a deep tenderness for her that he couldn’t believe he and no other desired that mortification.
Everything became confused: the white border of the hat lined up with the bow’s edge, the sea brimmed over the sky and summer broke up into many glints. He closed his eyes and everything shone against his eyelids, but always more dimly, becoming soft and distorted, until fading into a long rest.
The strike of an oar against the side woke him up suddenly. And all in one breath: “I dreamt I jumped, not into the sea, but into the air and I swam like a frog and I flew higher and higher!”
He smiled as her mother smiled at him and he remembered too late how much he wanted to stay angry.