By Nicholas Kidd
Copyright 2012 Nicholas Kidd
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I sit at my work bench in the basement. A lamp hangs over my head, casting a dim yellow light onto the table. My bare feet rest in a pile of sawdust and wood chippings. I like it down here. It’s quiet and peaceful, so I can work on this model boat. My son loves boats, the old kind, with sails and hundreds of parts. I have to carve every piece perfectly, he likes to touch it. He can’t see with his eyes, so it has to feel as beautiful as it looks.
He can’t move much. He just lies in bed most days, except his birthday. On his birthday I pick him up and bring him down here. Every year he gets a new ship, each bigger and better than the last. He names all of them, and I keep them on the shelf down here. All nine of them.
The light in the basement shows them off nicely. It’s not much light, just enough to see the color. It almost forces you to reach out and touch them. My son likes to run his little fingers over every piece. That’s why everything has to be smooth, with no splinters. He likes to touch the deck of the boat, where the people go. He even turns the wheel sometimes. I think he’s pretending to be the captain.
This ship has to be different though. It has to be the best one. The whole town will be here, especially my father. It needs flags, and nets, and cannons, and rails for the stairs. I’ve cut each wood panel, the size of a popsicle stick. The hard part is the rudder. The rudder has to move. You can’t have a rudder that doesn’t move.