“I have this image in my head, a chalk drawing,” I told my doctor. “I’m in a dinghy that’s tied to a huge ship, where I imagine everybody else, or ‘normal’ life, is.”
“Draw it” he told me, “I want to see it.”
I never felt compelled to work on it, though. Not because I can’t draw, which I can’t. I draw anyway, weird comics and such. I seem unable to get my hands to recreate the images in my head. Something gets lost in translation and I’m sure a lot of that something has to do with talent. Yet I still draw. Like writing, I do it more for my own sanity than any other reason. This dinghy picture just didn’t want or need to make its way out of my head. Fine. I didn’t know why, and I didn’t really care. It wouldn’t go away, though. I was torn between wanting to find my way on to the ship, and cutting the rope connecting my dinghy to it.
Months later I was walking home from coffee and saw a friendly acquaintance on his porch. Our usual small talk was neither usual nor small, and on this particular day we found ourselves sitting on his stoop talking about our struggles - each trying to help the other.
“You jumped into the water to save me, like Clarence did.” He was referring to the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life.
“I just thought I was oversharing,” I said.
“Whatever, it worked. I feel better, do you?”
“I do.” And I did feel better. I even detected feeling a bit of downright okay - okay enough that as I continued home, I figured out why I hadn’t attempted my dinghy drawing yet. It hadn’t completed itself in my head, until that moment with my friend. It was then I started seeing my dinghy among a sea full of dinghies (yup, spellchecked)!
Now I’m wondering if anyone’s even in the ship at all. And you know what? I don’t really care. This sea of dinghies feels nice, sometimes it can even feel like community. A Community of Dinghies. So since we’re all in this sea together, if you feel like cutting your line, first paddle near someone who’s heading for the same current and help each other. If you’re going it alone, at least keep a beacon on in case you need help. I have a feeling there are a lot more of us in dinghies than in that (what I’m suspecting is probably imaginary) ship.