Terra firma!

By Annmarie Miles

So we were sitting at a lake and neither of us said it, but we were both eyeing the pedalos.

We watched a group of girls, all waving madly. What could we do but smile and wave back?  For some unknown reason, I felt compelled to take a few photos of these total strangers: photos that will, no doubt, confuse generations to come. No one will be able to solve the mystery of the five unknown aunts in the pedalo.

Then there was a family: mum and child in the front. Dad was in the back, pedaling away like a mad thing. Mum and Dad were on the same side, so the craft was a bit lean-to for everyone's liking. 

So there we sat, looking at the same thing, feeling totally different about it.

In my expert opinion, I commented that mum should swap with the child so as to even the distribution of weight. And lo, as if my wisdom descended upon them, mum and child did a precarious swapsie, as myself, himself (and I'm betting the dad) closed our eyes and held our breaths. More smiling and waving as they passed, less a greeting, more an acknowledgement that we were all happy no one was in the water.

I looked on thinking, "Not on your life, mate". I could see himself was eager to give it a go, but I'd no idea why. 

He told me that, for him, pedalos evoke strong memories of childhood holidays on the Isle of Wight.  Him and his sister out on the boating-lake. Great fun, great memories. They don't suggest the unknown, or cause any fear. They represent happiness.  

All I could see was the potential for danger and/or embarrassment.  I don't share his memories or his feelings on the subject.

So there we sat, looking at the same thing, feeling totally different about it.

Thankfully it's not a deal-breaker in our relationship and we can happily continue our life together.

Some issues are deal-breakers, though. There are certain subjects that, to many, are non-negotiable. There we are, looking at the same thing, feeling totally different about it.

There are some difficult discussions ahead. Some uncomfortable conversations to be had. And I'll be honest, I struggle with these subjects and with some of the people who hold the opposite opinion to mine. But my plan is to keep smiling and keep waving.

If ever someone's in need of a life raft, I don't want them to be unwilling to take it from me.


Annmarie Miles is originally from Tallaght, now living in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. She is married to Richard from Wales. She spends her days writing, teaching and talking. Her first collection of short stories, The Long & The Short of It, is available in all formats at www.emuink.ie (Fiction Section) and also in Footprints in Dun Laoghaire.