Kassandra Dick

  • Do you even know what’s edible and what’s not?

    The Search

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada

                The waning sun was warm on my skin, and when the wind went still it felt hotter than possible. It was early spring. I walked along the dyke, keeping my head down, listening to an audiobook about magic, evil, and a dragon reborn. Passing by the odd person on the trail, I felt uncertain. All the anxieties of late seemed to swell when faced with strangers, even out here in the open.

                Do I speak to them? What’s the risk of spittle getting caught up in the wind only to be inhaled by the unsuspecting person? I didn’t really think I was infected… but still. Eye contact alone was difficult even though surely that was not contagious. Each person had their own concerns underneath those expressionless faces. Each was dealing with their own internal plans and setbacks.

                I reached the fork in the trail which would lead me on to the dusty forestry road where the speed limit was 50, but everyone drove 80 anyways. I did not turn back. Still with the dramatic story playing out in my ears, I made my way to the forest. My quest was not unlike the characters in the book, while they sought answers to long-forgotten questions, I sought knowledge of long-forgotten ancestors.

    I inched my way through the trees, so slowly, I could see the plants growing before me. I looked on like a hungry wolf—scavenging—you could call it.

                It seemed to me that if I could just find something of substance here, I might survive a whole year on the bounty of the forest. Alas, spring had barely begun to nudge the curled fiddleheads out of their cradles. The buds of maple and bramble were hardly more than tiny hands still folded in prayer.

                Foraging is the word for it.

                This forest was not a garden after all. I wasn’t harvesting, only sightseeing, only prospecting. I only knew the names of a few plants, and I only knew the purpose of a small percentage of those. So, I poked, prodded, and photographed. I sat under a big boulder and read up on what I’d found. My little plant book, like a bible, like a map.

                I hardly noticed the nips of mosquito, now thawed out in the millions, zealously swarming my warm body. In my haste to escape the monstrosities, I almost lost my balance on the rocks. A twisted ankle now would earn me Darwin’s award for sure.

                What were you up to when you fell? Oh, just looking for food. Food? There’s no food in the forest for you. And besides, supply is not the issue. It’s demand that will drain our coffers now. Do you even know what’s edible and what’s not?

                No. I admitted to myself. But that’s what I came here to learn. I’m not going to live my whole life acting as though the most important information is out there somewhere. No. There’s something missing from my personal education. How could I live 28 years without knowing which plants were medicine and which were poison? I refused to walk another step past all this green without investigating.

                That’s what quarantine did to me. It made me thirsty for knowledge. There was no chance to distract myself with work or friends, so I set to learning. If I’d been in the Garden of Eden, I would have eaten that fruit too. There was no Edible Plants of Canada back then, you just had to stuff a bit in your mouth and hope that snake was telling the truth.

                I was lucky to have a written resource at all. All these green waving fronds were alien to me. At least I knew the trees.    I touched the scales of spruce, the mottled skin of maple, smiled up at Hemlock’s drooping Elvis hairdo. It was Cedar I sought.

                There they were, lining the path to my house. Little children with their needles like leaves, or was it their leaves like needles? So soft and dainty, I held their hands in mine before pinching their wrists and helping myself to their fragrant limbs. I needed only a ten or so.

                Tea. It was the only thing I knew how to make. The only positive identification I could make. I said a prayer of thanks. The next day I would retrieve bags of dog shit in penance for what I took.

                Back home, the death counter was up to twelve thousand. My housemates spoke of gardens, of growth. The City issued that dreaded order… still without a plan to enforce it, only the blind hope that all would refrain from closeness, deny that twitch for touch…

                I shook my head. There was no longer any reason worth the risk. I had all I needed. A team at home and a community. We’d prepared for this, unknowingly. Through each short moment of relaxation we’d readied our minds for any hypothetical situation. Setting the kettle to boil, I read the latest updates from my crew. We had our meeting place. We had our ten essentials. We had our communications. If the earth should quake or the forest blaze, we’d be ready. We’d steeled ourselves not against the virus, but against the fear. I would not spread it. I would not pick it up and look it over. I would not give an inch of breath to the God of death, Panic.

                No. that’s not fair. I had my forest to run to. I had my friends. My heart sprung a leak for every being on the streets of The City, every soul locked up in their skyscraping tower. I sipped my tea. They had a reason to be afraid. I had space to escape, what had they? Only to wait.

                The street outside my room made me sigh. It was normally crowded with neighborhood boys, blasting each other away with imaginary projectiles, screaming exuberant obscenities. For their sake, I vowed. For their sake, I’ll stay. Put up with the indecision, the distasteful dithering. Was that word from me? Or something I’d heard… I turned off the audiobook.

                All was quiet.

                Quiet though it was, this town still had a heartbeat. I could feel it when I closed my eyes.

                Ah… How distance makes the lungs breathe free.

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada.

    Experience

    • Essayist and Ghost Writer | ASAP PapersSeptember 2016 – PresentProviding expert advice and editing for ESL university students. Ghost writing research papers with clients.
    • ESL Art instructor | Tamwood International CampsJune 2016 – PresentSeasonal Art instructor for international students ages 7-18, with varying degrees of English. Developed creative lesson plans based on student’s interests and abilities. Included cultural arts and crafts like Hieroglyphs, Dream Catchers, origami and Haida Art, as well as classic skills like pointillism, jewelry making, and collage.
    • English Instructor, math instructor, study skills instructor | Beacon Literacy Inc.January 2012 – August 2014I provided individualized instruction for English (not ESL) learning for ages 5-18. Accent reduction classes for adults. Math for grades 1-6 and study skills for High school students, including time management, goal setting, review, and finding resources.

    Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

  • On the outskirts of Arusha, the night had begun

    Such Great Heights an “R” Romance

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada

    Part Three

                The dense rainforest climbing up Kilimanjaro gave way to bristly bearded groundsels and then to barren rock. Thousands of tourists and mountaineers alike made mile-long ant lines up the popular routes. Meanwhile, four individuals picked their way up a hidden trail to the north.

                This steep and treacherous climb had no camps. They’d travelled for four days, climbing up slowly and cautiously, sleeping in well-protected clearings. Now the peak was in view, perhaps only an hour away.

                They had no porters and no escort, but that suited them all. Nen moved up the rock ahead of them as though guided by a magnetic pull. When it looked like they could no longer climb in one direction, he’d take them straight on and the rocky holds revealed themselves. Francisco kept stride with him and they discussed minerals and budgets.

                Twenty paces behind, Firyali and Charlotte followed on in a comfortable silence. The two had grown closer every day, with Firyali doting on Charlotte like an old friend. She had their hiking gear flown to them at base camp. She filled their bags with delicious food. She braided and oiled Charlotte’s hair to keep it still for the journey. She’d had her own braids removed for the hike and wore her hair in a lively little afro underneath her handkerchief. Now she was sharing the story of how Nen had named his ship the Silver Slipper.

                “This is where he wanted to propose to me.” Firyali said, slightly winded. “At the top of this mountain, he planned to kneel down and offer up half his life for me.”

                “How romantic.” Charlotte sighed, although she didn’t understand where this was going.

                “Yes, well it would have been, had I not gone to a party the week before our trek.” The wind picked up and Charlotte had to strain to hear Firyali. “I’d worn a stunning blue cocktail dress of my own design and…” she paused both for tension and to take a sip of water. “And high-heeled silver slippers.”

                Charlotte took a drink, and she took a moment to drink in the alien landscape. They had only a few meters to climb and the men were waiting for them so they could all summit together.

                “Anyway, I may have had too much to drink and I missed the last step when we were leaving. I fell so hard that I broke my shoe… and my heel.”

                Nen caught the last of the story and chimed in, “I was heart-broken. I had made all the arrangements for our trip, but now my future fiancé could not even walk. So instead we sailed with some friends and I proposed to her right there on the boat.”

                “Which used to be called the one-eyed wench, by the way,” said Firyali disapprovingly. “I told him I’d only agree to marry him if he changed the name, and well, now you know what a bastard he really is.”

                Charlotte could not help but laugh. As soon as she did, the other three were thrown into hysterics. Firyali tossed her head back and Nen was folded over with one hand on his wife’s shoulder and one hand on Francisco’s. Francisco put an arm around Charlotte and the four of them pressed on, still chortling in the thin air.

                When they summited the shining mountain, they sprawled out and soaked in the crisp clear sunlight. The sky was a blue lake they could have jumped into, the land below was like a mirage. They could see the trains of tiny hikers across the massive crater from them and a few more scattered all about. Nen produced a flask and they sat and drank and chatted for a long time before making their retreat west towards Shira camp.

                There they collapsed into a heap. Too tired to even pitch a tent. All except Nen had been thoroughly exhausted by the delicate descent. Nen seemed supercharged.

                “I guess it’s time to make camp,” said Francisco, watching his friend pace back and forth. But instead of rising to action, he sprawled out again with his head on Charlotte’s lap and his legs across Firyali’s. He looked like he could fall asleep. Firyali had her eyes shut and was relaxing in the fading sun like a house cat.

                Shaking his head, Nen took out a radio and spoke for a few moments, but the wind muffled his words. Finally, he said, “Well, friends, we’ve climbed the great mountain, no one said we should have to walk back down.”

                Just before sunset, they heard the familiar purr of a helicopter. Only Charlotte and Nen felt the twinge of shame as they took the easy route off the mountain. Their eyes met when the other two were whooping and gathering up their packs. Nen smiled brightly and shrugged.

    ***

                On the outskirts of Arusha, the night had begun without them. The sky was a pleasant black with thousands of stars and no moon. They dropped their bags in front of Firyali’s villa and stared up at the sky, listening to the insects.

                Although the cottage was a modest single room, it had vaulted ceilings and huge windows, which were covered. The walls were painted with lovely golds and reds. The paintings were all simple, tasteful nudes. Firyali kicked up her feet on a comfy leather couch. There was a king sized bed on the other wall. A golden clawed tub was situated near the entrance and Nen found his way to the bar at the back, next to a practical and tidy kitchenette.

                Nen handed the women glasses of wine and he and Francisco left to collect their gear from outside and check on the rest of the property. Meanwhile Firyali and Charlotte decided to share a bath, “To save water.”

                Firyali sang and tended to Charlotte’s hair, Charlotte sponged herself and then Firyali in turn. Firyali felt shivers wherever Charlotte brushed her skin. Each touch was like a kiss. Charlotte saw Firyali looking at her with parted lips. She wanted to taste those lips. She moved closer and closed her eyes, feeling the heat off Firyali’s skin, smelling the coco-butter in her hair.

                The door opened and startled them both. Francisco stepped through the threshold and stopped in his tracks. Seeing two deities bathing made him simultaneously reverent and excited. Nen pushed in from behind, overloaded with gear. He caught glimpse of what had stalled his friend and whistled.

                “You two better not have used all the hot water.”

                Firyali laughed and splashed at him. “Come on out.” He said, dropping his cargo and taking off his shirt. “It’s our turn.”

                The women obeyed, Firyali standing up boldly and reaching for two towels, Charlotte following more timidly, taking her towel and keeping her eyes on Franco. She wanted him to say something, but he just stared at her with a perplexing smile. Firyali hated to be interrupted like that, so she pulled Charlotte close to her and waited until she kissed her first. They held each other still, letting their towels and their inhibitions fall.

                Nen was fully in the nude by the time they separated. He hopped into the tub, his heavy member swinging jauntily as he did. He had soaped himself up and was rinsing off when Firyali made a move towards Francisco, and Charlotte realized she’d been staring at Nen the whole time.

                Francisco allowed Firyali to undress him. He watched Charlotte, who looked just as eager as he felt. Firyali took her time with his sweater, stealing a kiss before lifting it off completely. Nen stole this opportunity to take Charlotte’s hand. She knelt beside him, that same secret smile on her face he’d seen before. He poured his lips over hers. Her small mouth was a joy to explore.

                “Alright, Nen, you’ve had your turn. Let us wash this foul smelling beast.”

                When Francisco was stood in the bath, Firyali handed Charlotte a sponge and they set to work on him, dripping soapy bubbles over his shoulders and watching them slide over the ripples of his abs. The two sprites scrubbed him clean, but denied him a towel so that he had to cross the room naked and wrestle it from them on the bed.

                Nen gave out a roar of delight and joined the fray. He threw Charlotte over his shoulder and danced around the room, spanking her pink. Francisco knelt at the edge of the bed and kissed Firyali up and down her thighs.

                Nen set Charlotte on the kitchen counter and kissed her again. When he entered her, it made her cry out. He eased up and tried again. Her groan was calmer this time. He moved slowly. He looked to his wife. She was arching her back in pleasure with the man busy beneath her.

                Nen felt himself rising higher at the sight of his wife and the feeling of Charlotte’s tiny body now gyrating in time to his own. He held her softly, but gave it to her deeply and decisively. She tightened around him, so he slowed his pace, he wouldn’t let her reach that edge just yet.

                Francisco peeked over at his wife and felt a pang of jealousy, but he looked back at Firyali and his heart opened once more. She pulled him on top of her and in the same motion slid him inside. Franco kissed her fully, and thrust forward as deep as she could let him. Her muted moans told him she was alright. He released her and found a rhythm, feeling ever so faintly the tightening of her abs, the lick of her nipples against his chest, the warmth of her breath on his neck.

                When Firyali came, it was a domino effect, the living room shuddered with each of them and was still again when they were. They fell into bed, legs, arms, fingers interwoven as if they’d been created to fit that way. Francisco was the last to sleep, he played with Charlotte’s hair and pulled her nearer to him. That forever feeling was back and he felt this night would never end.

    ***

                When Charlotte awoke she needed to pee, so she crept out from under Franco’s arm. She found one of the men’s sweatshirts and pulled on her boots. Outside the world was humid. The sun was shining so brightly, she felt as if this new day had been waiting for her. She stood there in the warm air so long that Francisco woke up and went out to find her.

                There they stood as one. The dawn caressed them and saturated their vision so that all they could do was close their eyes and see that magical memory of last night.

                “I’m guessing you got the deal,” Charlotte teased. Franco just held her in his arms.

                “I love you,” was all the answer she needed.

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada.

    Experience

    • Essayist and Ghost Writer | ASAP PapersSeptember 2016 – PresentProviding expert advice and editing for ESL university students. Ghost writing research papers with clients.
    • ESL Art instructor | Tamwood International CampsJune 2016 – PresentSeasonal Art instructor for international students ages 7-18, with varying degrees of English. Developed creative lesson plans based on student’s interests and abilities. Included cultural arts and crafts like Hieroglyphs, Dream Catchers, origami and Haida Art, as well as classic skills like pointillism, jewelry making, and collage.
    • English Instructor, math instructor, study skills instructor | Beacon Literacy Inc.January 2012 – August 2014I provided individualized instruction for English (not ESL) learning for ages 5-18. Accent reduction classes for adults. Math for grades 1-6 and study skills for High school students, including time management, goal setting, review, and finding resources.

    Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

  • “Well I had hoped to hike Kilimanjaro.”

    Such Great Heights an “R” Romance

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada

    Part Two

                In around the isles of Unguja, the sea creatures were a blur of colour and shine. A lion fish swallowed a smaller fish in one bite and an octopus prowled along the ocean floor. Two green turtles were feasting on the algae of the reef, chomping lazily through the foliage, oblivious to the four dark shadows approaching from above. Only a pod of bottle nosed dolphins seemed to be aware that they were being watched.

                The creatures were gliding with unusual shapes, their strange flippers fluttering limply in the water, their large eyes staring straight ahead of them. One curious dolphin approached the beings cautiously. Her mother whistled for her to return, but she ignored her. The yearly approached one individual from behind, and gave its fin an inquisitive nibble.

                Charlotte felt something bite her flipper and she almost panicked. Kicking back, she spun round in the water and stared into the eye of a small dolphin, no longer than she was. She let go of one big air bubble, which rose out of her snorkel. The little devil squeaked at her and went up to investigate the bubble. Instinctively, she reached out to stroke it. Its smooth skin was like a baby’s cheek. That touch was too close for comfort though, and the dolphin peeled away toward its pod. Charlotte was out of air anyway. She rose slowly up to the surface and ejected whatever water was left in her tube before sucking in fresh, salty oxygen.

                Charlotte hung there, treading water gracefully. The sun gave warmth and sparkle to the day. She closed her eyes, and laid back, basking in the light and breathing in the spray and the wind.

                Nen surfaced and found himself struck by the sight of a mermaid, with her face thrown back to the sky. Fate had blessed him with an image so rare and delightful. Charlotte turned to him with a dreamy look. Nen grinned wide and the little mermaid smiled a small, secret smile, but she was looking over his shoulder.

                Francisco broke the surface like a shark. He sputtered out water and laughed. “What a day.”

                Nen closed his mouth, but the smile remained. He swam out of the way, but kept his eyes on Charlotte until his new friend swam to his side and clapped him on the back. “We’ve had it all, haven’t we, captain?”

                Nen paused a moment, thinking about what he’d still like to have.

                “Yes,” replied Charlotte for him. Firyali was a little ways away. She came out of the water and beckoned them to follow her back down. She had the whole pod of dolphins circling them now and she was amusing the family with her snorkel, she put it in her mouth upside down and gave a long burble of bubbles. The more playful animals blew out their own bubbles to intercept hers, while the watchful parents whistled from a safe distance.

                Soon all four of them were playing bubble wars with the youngsters. They resurfaced and dove down for some time, laughing all the while, until Firyali took one look at the sky and said, “Back to the boat.”

    ***

                Lightning struck the water a few hundred feet from the Silver Slipper and ripped a seam in the sky. Charlotte jumped, blinded by the light. She watched the violent strip of smoke dissipate, then turned to the people in the cabin with her. Francisco seemed not to notice, he was busy toweling off and changing his shirt. Nen was occupied with selecting the perfect drink for his guests. Firyali, however, looked to Charlotte with wide eyes. At least someone had seen that. They were anchored near the port of Zanzibar. A skittering of city lights, like fireflies from Charlotte’s hometown in Florida, flickered through the rain. They decided to remain on the craft, since they had all the food they could eat and they were safe to wait out the squall right there.

                The excited pop of champagne cork was like a parody of the lightning strike. Nen poured four glasses and meandered over to the table. Charlotte observed his glistening skin, not black like Firyali’s, but instead the colour of gold-dusted chocolate. Just now, she had the image of taking a bite out of him. Nen’s eyes followed Charlotte as she took her champagne and drank deeply. Francisco and Firyali both noticed this look on Nen’s face. The two found their own eyes meeting across the table. Without expecting it, Firyali felt her lips parting. Francisco seemed to hold his arms around her when he held her gaze like this. She turned to Nen only when he was handing her a glass. She drank fully, her own throat suddenly dry.

                Nen spoke as he gave Francisco a long-stemmed glass. “So, Charlotte, I’ve heard you are quite the adventurer. Congratulations on your ascent of Cerro Torre.”

                “Thank you, Nen. It had been on my bucket list for a long time.” Charlotte still had to look down at her champagne.

                “Yes, you enjoy mountains more than the water, I believe.”

                There was a moment of silence and Firyali broke in, “What’s on your bucket list here in Tanzania?”

                Charlotte answered shyly, “Well I had hoped to hike Kilimanjaro.” She watched for a reaction from her husband, but he smiled distantly at Firyali.

                “Oh you want to climb the White Mountain?” chuckled Nen.

                “Nen,” Firyali said sweetly to her husband, “you’re always saying you’d like to get me up there one day…”

                Still smiling, Nen said, “Of course, my love. Shall we set off this evening?”

                Ignoring his jibe, Firyali avowed, “We’ll head back to the mainland and begin in a few days. Look how excited Charlotte is to get back to the mountains. Enough of this water.” She waved her hand, gesturing around them.

                Nen stroked his wife’s bare shoulder, “Of course. It would bring me so much joy.”

                “Really?” Charlotte’s hand had gripped Francisco’s unconsciously. With a coy expression, Firyali nodded. She held up her glass in a toast.

                “To adventure,” she called.

                The men answered in unison, “To adventure.”

                            Raising her own glass, Charlotte declared, “To adventure.”

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada.

    Experience

    • Essayist and Ghost Writer | ASAP PapersSeptember 2016 – PresentProviding expert advice and editing for ESL university students. Ghost writing research papers with clients.
    • ESL Art instructor | Tamwood International CampsJune 2016 – PresentSeasonal Art instructor for international students ages 7-18, with varying degrees of English. Developed creative lesson plans based on student’s interests and abilities. Included cultural arts and crafts like Hieroglyphs, Dream Catchers, origami and Haida Art, as well as classic skills like pointillism, jewelry making, and collage.
    • English Instructor, math instructor, study skills instructor | Beacon Literacy Inc.January 2012 – August 2014I provided individualized instruction for English (not ESL) learning for ages 5-18. Accent reduction classes for adults. Math for grades 1-6 and study skills for High school students, including time management, goal setting, review, and finding resources.

    Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

  • Charlotte ran a hand through her black hair, considering her options.

    Such Great Heights an “R” Romance

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada

              Part One

                “Sailing?” Charlotte sat back on the bed, letting her silk robe fall away to reveal the cream camisole underneath. She took a deep breath and collected her thoughts, not noticing Francisco’s dark eyes watching her breasts rise and fall. He stood in the doorway stripped to the waist in the heat of the night. His tanned, muscular body glistened and so did his eyes, content to watch his wife like this forever.

                Charlotte ran a hand through her black hair, considering her options. Francisco had brought her here on their honeymoon, to the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, with the promise of adventure. She’d dreamt of climbing Kilimanjaro to the north, not spending a weekend on some pleasure craft. Charlotte looked up to Francisco with pleading doe-brown eyes.

                “I’ve never sailed in my life.” She searched his face for the joke, but he kept his gaze steady. With a smirk that told her she’d already accepted this invitation, Francisco said, “It’s only for the weekend. We’ll be on our way to the shining mountain the very next day if you wish.”

                Charlotte tried to look indignant. “I don’t see how this Nen character knew you were so close to him this weekend. You were supposed to have slipped away from work unnoticed, remember?”

                Francisco looked pained, he crossed the room and took his wife’s hands. Charlotte had fallen in love with Franco because he never asked for her approval to leave on business without notice. She had accepted his marriage proposal knowing that Francisco’s company depended on him more than she could ever expect to. It was like a step child she’d never meet nor fully accept. She had spoken her wedding vows knowing that she’d have to trust him fully and be fully independent of him simultaneously. But to be making a deal here… on their honeymoon? It was hard to believe that the owner of a dozen different mines in the country just happened to call while they were in Tanzania. Still Francisco promised her that Nen’s wife, Firyali, would accompany them, so at least she wouldn’t be the third wheel of his business love affair.

                “Alright, Franco, but you’ll be carrying me up Kilimanjaro in penance.”

                Francisco knelt forward and kissed Charlotte harder than he meant to. Feeling her yield however, he took her arms and wrapped them around his neck. He could stay here forever. Forever. He felt like this with Charlotte, like he was in the middle of eternity, with infinite possibilities on either end.

                With the strength of a logger, not a tech executive, Francisco picked up his wife and carried her to the window. She weighed nothing to him, her slim, strong legs held steady around his waist. Her slip lifted up and he held her sex next to his for a moment, kissing her pale, smooth neck, her flushed cheek, her rouged lips, while she freed him of his slacks.

                He pressed her firmly against the glass and she guided him in. Charlotte gasped and shut her eyes. She kept her arms wrapped around her partner, feeling as though he might drop her in his ecstasy. Francisco kept his eyes open. It gave him pleasure to take her like this, with the whole city laid out at their feet. The twinkling lights seemed powered by his very passion, intimately linked to his own body. When he brought Charlotte to climax, he could have sworn he saw a surge of light below…

    ***

                “Firyali, pleased to meet you.” The ebony goddess shaking her hand made even Charlotte’s heart flutter. Her skin was like polished onyx and her teeth were pearls. She had her hair braided in long, tight ropes that gave her the silhouette of a lion, yet her body was slight, lean and her midnight skin was starkly contrasted by the colorful sundress she had draped over one shoulder. A light sea breeze ruffled her skirts and tousled Charlotte’s own dark hair.

                “Charmed,” Charlotte replied, suddenly breathless. “And you must be Nen?” The statue of a man moved, his full lips parted to reveal teeth as clean and white as his wife’s. He stood a healthy six feet five inches tall and looked as though he’d spent more time working his mines than running them, his muscles almost broke through his deep V-neck shirt.

                “So nice to meet you, Mrs. Galileo.” He took her hand in both of his. She couldn’t help but notice the strength in that grip, gentle as he tried to be. She saw also the single, simple gold ring on his left hand.

                “Call me Charlotte, please.” A quick glance at Firyali’s ring and Charlotte saw she’d forgone a traditional diamond encrusted monstrosity for a plain band, like her husband’s. Charlotte unconsciously pressed her thumb to her own unadorned ring.

                “Charlotte, wonderful. Well friends, welcome aboard the Silver Slipper.”

                Francisco had already been taking stock of the 26 foot yacht. There were no crewmen, or caterers. The clean, streamlined vessel had two rose red sails, which gave it a startlingly regal look. The cabin was at the center, its roof reached their chests and there, was painted a naked black woman waist deep in waves, her braided hair just covering one breast.

                Charlotte looked from the painting to Firyali. Firyali beamed a royal smile in response. The husbands discussed the rigging and how to work the great sails, and Firyali took her place at the helm. She looked all the more like a queen up there. The engine purred to life and then they were gliding away from the marina. Charlotte felt suddenly futile. She hated to be idle. Still, at least this wasn’t the luxury trip she’d expected.

                Nen was handing her something, “Charlotte, you climb?” It was a harness.

                “Oh… yes.”

                Nen’s smile was pure sunlight. “Well, run up the mast and be Firyali’s eyes.” Charlotte beamed. It wasn’t necessary, but it was something to do. She checked her carabiners and began the steep climb up the metal prongs. The movement relaxed her and reminded her of the last adventure she’d been on with Franco, climbing some of the starkest peaks in Patagonia. At the top of the mast, she had a 360˚ view of the channel opening up before them. The crystalline waters could not have been real. The shrinking city behind them seemed dull compared to the supreme blues and greens of the ocean.

                She looked down at Firyali, and the lioness smiled back at her. She glanced at the men, but they were busy with the rigging on the other sail. She watched it unfurl magnificently and felt the vibration in her hand.

    “Where shall we go, my pet?” Firyali called to Nen.

                “Zanzibar, of course.” He replied.

                Charlotte felt a flurry in her stomach. She looked down at Francisco, willing him to see her, but his eyes were on the horizon.

    By: Kassandra Dick

    Vancouver, Canada.

    Experience

    • Essayist and Ghost Writer | ASAP PapersSeptember 2016 – PresentProviding expert advice and editing for ESL university students. Ghost writing research papers with clients.
    • ESL Art instructor | Tamwood International CampsJune 2016 – PresentSeasonal Art instructor for international students ages 7-18, with varying degrees of English. Developed creative lesson plans based on student’s interests and abilities. Included cultural arts and crafts like Hieroglyphs, Dream Catchers, origami and Haida Art, as well as classic skills like pointillism, jewelry making, and collage.
    • English Instructor, math instructor, study skills instructor | Beacon Literacy Inc.January 2012 – August 2014I provided individualized instruction for English (not ESL) learning for ages 5-18. Accent reduction classes for adults. Math for grades 1-6 and study skills for High school students, including time management, goal setting, review, and finding resources.

    Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.


Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.