The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This memory is about my Mom joining the rowing team in college. It didn't really lead anywhere, but it was still something she had fun trying.

It was a warm spring morning. The only thing that Eleanor could hear was the sound of 8 pairs of paddles hitting the water, the voice of the coxswain, and the sound of the Schuylkill River flowing along lazily. She was in a long thin boat with a crew of 9 people. 8 rowers, and the coxswain who was responsible for directing where the boat would go. They had only been out on the water for 10 minutes, but the crew already felt alone, nothing other than them seemed to be out on the water. Eleanor started thinking back to the conversation she had with Jackie the night before.

“It’s fun, Jack. You get to workout and have fun rowing along,” Eleanor said.

“Yeah, but you have to go out, like every morning for an entire hour.”

“Only six days a week!”

“15 minutes down, 45 to go guys!”

Eleanor was taken out of her thoughts by the coxswain, the person in charge of leading their small crew during the trip. The crew drifted on and on, minute by minute. Eleanor started thinking about other things, like her family. Did her parents mind taking care of the dog while she was away at college? How was her sister’s marriage with that mailman going? What was with her family and mailmen? Her dad was a mailman, two of her brothers were mailmen, and now she had a mailman for a brother in law. It was getting ridiculo- “We’re halfway done, it’s time to turn around!”

Spectators from a nearby pier watched the boat turn around.

“Make sure you keep up the pace and maintain the rhythm. 1, 2, 3, 4, guys!”

Eleanor slowly became tired, and her arms started to burn. It was a feeling that she was getting used to after three weeks of being on the rowing team. Practicing every morning was hard, and the crew was still weeks away from the first competition of the season.

20 minutes to go.

Eleanor became more focused on her work. She focused on the sounds of the paddles splashing in the water, and her arms moving back and forth. Her bathing suit was damp, and she couldn’t figure out how much of it was sweat, and how much of it was the water splashing into the boat.

10 minutes to go.

The dock that the St. Joes rowing team kept their boat at was almost in sight. Although she was enjoying herself, Eleanor was elated that it was almost over. The crew rowed faster, and the waves rocked the boat harder than ever before.

5 minutes to go.

The team started to slow down at the command of the coxswain. The crew got off the boat, and the coxswain tied it to the dock. “Good job everyone, I’m sure we’ll do great when we finally compete!”

Eleanor got changed and headed off to class.

Rowing Team

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