The crack resounded in our kitchen and made Cindy and I giggle with wonder. Jon gave the coconut a quarter turn and whacked it again. This time, we could hear the beginnings of accomplishment in the echo. With a twinkle in his eye, Jon hoisted the coconut up to our eye level so that we could see the crack that was crawling around the equator. He set his jaw and raised the hammer one last time.
As hammer connected with shell, thin streams of clear coconut milk began to drain into the pan we'd set on the counter. Finally, the coconut split... revealing two pristine, white, concave faces.
Cindy and I had decided that a Saturday evening would the perfect time to bake a cake, and fortunately, two dear friends had gifted Jon and me with a cake-specific cookbook at Christmastime to aid in this endeavor. But it was Jon, eager to indulge his inner Survivalist, who chose the Coconut Cake. Never mind that it was the cake on the cover of the book, enticing in its pure, fluffy white glory. Never mind that we'd not baked a thing (besides biscuits) from scratch in our lives. The chance to split open a coconut was too exciting for Jon to pass up.
So, the four of us gathered in my recently-more-frequently-cooked-in kitchen to conquer the Great White Cake. The task before us was daunting. Cindy poured the wine.
For Christmas, my friend Amy gave me two gifts. One was a charitable donation in my name, a contribution to further the cause of providing clean water to the world. The other gift was a CD. You see, Amy works as a teacher in Capitola, but she also holds a part time job at a groovy little coffee shop in Santa Cruz called The Abbey. The CD I unwrapped at Ya-Ya Christmas this year is a mix of songs by artists who have performed at The Abbey in the past.
As I thanked my best friend for her thoughtful gifts, I was already excited about the prospect of having a new soundtrack for my driving life. The old Jessica/Fergie/Rhianna/Killers mixes were stale and had long since been thrust beneath the seats of Bronwyn (my Jeep) in disgust. And while I remain loyal to KKIQ (FM 101.7 in the Tri-Valley), there's only so much of John Mayer that I can take without switching to talk radio for relief!
I blink and in that instant, God is gone. I've never known Him. My sins are cold and wet as seaweed around me. Gulls squeal in the half light of a morning which will never dawn. I am suspended from the prow of a sunken ship and the dead weight of its waterlogged timbers tugs at my toes. I know I am not moving anywhere, even when the tide is out and I am pushed up through the glassy ceiling of the ocean, in sight of the shore.
A gown of rotted wood swirls from my hips and merges with the hull. Though I may have been carved with hopeful eyes, with prideful shoulders, with an eager breath swelled in my bosom, with one arm cocked in salute to allow a shade for my optimistic face... I am stagnant. Barnacles sprout from the folds of my dress, cumbersome sequins washed white by the waves.
There is no escape from my place at the bow, and my yearning for something, for anything else takes hold, wearing away at my steady, oaken resolve. When I am under water, I long for the sights and sounds of that unreachable lagoon. When the tide recedes, I am given over to gravity, and my position as Tantalus stokes the flames of my frustration... making me long for the buoyancy of my under water prison.
My eyes open, and life goes on.