When Life is Yaw by R.B. Frank

The weather is temperate by the coast. That makes for temperate days, temperate husbands, temperate friends. When her daughter calls and asks, how are things, she would say, “Life is yare.” She felt it only appropriate to speak in nautical terms. And she would be sure to say “Yare” like Katherine Hepburn from The Philadelphia Story because – you know – it’s Katherine Hepburn.

She and her husband moved to Martha’s Vineyard ten years ago, life-worn and ready for solitude. They found Sandal Cove, a man-made, pre-fabricated community whose New York Times advertisement promised the New England dream of sandy toes, gated safety and nature’s bliss. And life was yare. That was until her husband made her tea. Because ten years of sandy anything, sea gull poop and exhaustingly predictable yare inhabitants make for a very itchy woman.

She took a sip. “It’s not hot.”

Walter closed his newspaper. “I never make it hot hot.”

“Well, today it’s not hot enough.” She put her Beach Life mug in the microwave and slammed the door. She punched the keypad and stared at the cup like it was the village merry-go-round.

“You, know, it’s going to get too hot then you won’t be able to drink it,” he said through the paper.

She pushed the keypad for an extra thirty seconds.

Ten seconds pass.

“Did you hear…Evie, did you hear that the town council is trying to get rid of all the gull poop?” Walter turned the page with a snap.

      With a snap.

“They’d have to get rid of the gulls.” So stupid. We live by the water. Her heart was slamming against her chest, her breathing became shallow and she considered another Xanax. With a blueberry muffin chaser.

Five years ago, her thyroid cancer appeared quickly but had festered for years. Her nutritionist(slash)naturalist(slash)holistic adviser said that her throat chakra was blocked and “that’s what you get when your chi energy doesn’t flow.” Not a surprise since she had years of blocked verbal expression. Suppressed identity. It was her place. It was what was expected.

To keep life yare.

The phone rang and Walter answered. “Carol! My favorite daughter.” You’re only daughter. “Honey, it’s Carol.” I got that. “We’re fine, yes. Life is yare, life is yare.”

The microwave beeped and Evie responded loyally. She hoped it would be scorching hot, enough to burn the roof of her mouth.

The cancer hadn’t returned since, in remission. She’d be in remission for the rest of her life if she’s lucky, they said. And she said to them, “You know what a non-medical definition of remission is? Absolution.” My new beginning.

The rap on the door startled her.

“Ahoy, Wilkinson’s.” Their neighbor cupped his hands around his eyes and peered through the salt-encrusted screen. “Ahoy!”

“Jim,” said Walter, “come aboard. Carol, hold on. How’s the Tru Luv?”

“She’s out of the water. She yaws to the left. Always off course. I’d end up in Nova Scotia. Having it looked at.”

“Aw, that’s a shame. That’s a shame. Oh, shoot. Yes, Carol, I’m here. Sorry. Talk to your mother. She’s feeling a bit salty.”

     I’m not salty.

“Hello, dear…No, everything is yare.”




Roseanne Frank’s publications include a collection of shorts, Bite Size Reads: slightly twisted, deliciously dark, really short stories for people with very little time or very short attention spans. She has various literary articles published as well as educational articles for peer reviewed journals. She is a member of SCBWI and is marketing several picture book manuscripts. You can find links to all her articles and current works on her website at rbfrank.com.