The Depths of the Charles

Prompt donated by Sylvia Salas,
Executive Director of The Esplanade Association

One hundred years ago, a vision for a beautiful park that would be democratic in nature and splendid in its landscape, became the historic Charles River Esplanade we behold today.

As she dipped her paddle in the water, he glanced over to the riverbank. Couples lined the dock, legs pressing, eyes trained on the water, captivated by the slosh of water rolling underneath them. Sprays of water from the ever-more capricious wind doused those closest to the rail. We paddled vigorously, eyeing the maze of support beams as our destination. Something splashed above the surface of the water—probably a fish, maybe a monster. When we looked more closely, we realized it was a person, but not a whole person. He was wearing a wet suit and struggled to swim: a vet with one arm. His missing arm, replaced with a large wooden peg, lavishly decorated in jewels and gold inlay, clicked along the boat’s side. We knew there was nothing to fear as he smiled in our direction and continued paddling toward the shore.

But wait! He was dragging something from the bottom of the Charles! It was difficult to see, but it looked like an old wooden chest, with an insignia that read “If found, please return to the pub.” The pub was down the road and off to the right, amber windows could be seen from up the street. Dripping beard and snarled teeth, the man from the deep awake his God-like booming voice to say, “I’ll buy you both a drink if you help me out.” Of course, we thought, how could we not. The sound of sirens interrupted our thoughts.

Contributors: Wren Siegel, Boulder, CO; Mary Sullivan, Boston; Marissa Koors, Boston; Joyce Maxwell, Winchester; Prema S, Cambridge; Jade, Cambridge; Laney Bridges, Philadelphia, PA; Ricki Morell, Brookline; Hugo, Jamaica Plain; Jack Attack, Whitman; Caitlin Bueller; Peter, Boston; Chris Leicester, UK; Shoshana, Brookline; Dana E. Pearson, Arlington.

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