This is short flash nonfiction.
On the meager island of Bar Harbor, Maine, the tide parts twice a day to reveal a sandbar which leads to a small patch of land that is inaccessible when the tide is up. The locals call it Bar Island since it is plenty wide enough to drive cars out on. But the locals don’t recommend that; matter of fact, one of the only pieces of advice you can expect to hear from every local is not to drive your car out on the sandbar. The tide covers up the path twice a day, reliable and right on schedule, like rain in Seattle. One local whipped out their phone to show me images of tourist’s cars submerged after they decided to leave it while venturing around the island. After looking at Hondas and Toyotas filled with water, I surprisingly wondered less about the incompetent tourists and more about the local that kept these pictures handy.
The term local is used loosely since the island shuts down from November to May. If you’re there working for the season, as I was, you might as well go ahead and consider yourself a local. No one I knew on the island had a car, so I biked or walked everywhere, occasionally paying for an overpriced taxi.
As for the nightlife, there was one bar on the island. The booze was cheap, and the DJ took song requests, so my coworkers and I made a habit of shutting it down nearly every weekend.
After leaving the bar one night, I decided to go to the sandbar to see if the tide was parted. The wind was lazily blowing, a cool contrast against my alcohol-warmed skin. The sandbar was out of my way, but I was leaving the island in just a few weeks. Time was a concept I couldn’t wrap my head around just yet.
To my disappointment, the path of shells and rocks was covered by the vast darkness of the sea. Content on the journey not being a complete waste of my time, I climbed atop the container wall and stared out to the small stretch of land. When my vision adjusted to the darkness I saw two sets of glowing eyes from across the water. I locked gazes with a mother deer and her young.
They had probably walked across the sandbar while the tide was down, lost track of time or was never aware of it in the first place. Now they were forced to spend the night on the small patch of land and wait for the tide to break before they could prance back across to get home.
I stayed a few more minutes, becoming bored after losing the mother’s gaze once she realized I wasn’t a threat to her young, not that I could have gotten to them even if I had wanted to.
My limbs felt like they had been filled with concrete as I trekked back towards my crummy apartment, the thought of my bed awaiting me pushed me onward. I thought how I would be hopping on a plane soon to go back to Tennessee, where my family and friends awaited me, and how excited I was to see them. I thought about the deer, alone on the sand bar, waiting for morning to come and the tide to break so they get home. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had been terrified once they realized they couldn’t get home tonight.