“Stuck. In the muck. Down on my luck. My mind has been hit by a speeding dump truck. Feet firm on the ground, brain running amok. I see the sea and the sky and behold I’m awestruck. -JSM-
In 2009, I spent some time in Bermuda. The only real vacation I’ve ever had. Three slow moving days at sea. Two days docked at King’s Landing at the island, and two days returning to Boston.
The ship was an adult playground. Event rooms on each deck. Dance floors and a bar in each corner. The best food I’ve ever eaten, with twenty-four hour eateries. Five star restaurants and the meals were delivered on demand and as much as you could stuff in your face. On deck nine was a twenty-four hour arcade. Tennis courts top side. Running track. Batting cages. A swimming pool and water slides on the main deck, with more lawn chairs than can be counted, and a handful of hot tubs.
The staff preformed improv routines. Cirque du Soleil made an appearance. They had magician acts and stand up comedians in large theaters. Bartender contests. Karaoke and Bingo halls. Back rubs and pedicures…
A little bit of everything.
A little bit of everything that really didn’t pertain to my interests.
Near the bridge, where the captain and his crew manned the ship on the other side of bullet proof glass, was a library and attached to the library was a cigar lounge. Cigars were purchased in a mall area on the lobby floor and smoked in the ventilated room along with cigarettes, if a visitor so preferred. The lounge had high-back leather seats and thick dark carpet. It was a dimly lit room with internet access ($15 for five minutes), and magazines draped over end tables.
I’ll give you three guesses how I spent my time on the ship.
When I wasn’t swimming in the pool, soaking in the tub, or eating a meal, I was in the arcade. Now and then, I’d spend some time in the library.
I kept to the itinerary designed for the day. You gotta get what you pay for. I went to the bars and played Bingo in the event room. I watched the magicians, I played the games and participated in the contests. I smoked a cigar or two. But the arcade brought me back to my childhood. A room crammed with nostalgia. Since most people see me as a big kid at heart, it was fitting I spent most of my time in a place that suited me.
The library had an air of mystique and mystery. It’s own separate draw. The shelves were jammed with old leather bound books and trinkets.
Between the two locations, I knew where I wanted to be.
The island was a different experience altogether. With the ship docked at the nearest port, the tourists could come and go freely. During the day, my vacation escape was the arcade and the library. On the island it was experiencing the rich history and seeing the local sites, tasting their home brews and filling up my bottomless gut on popular cuisine.
Dusk and dark was my favorite time during my stint at sea.
Off my cabin was a narrow balcony. With the glass door closed behind me, the only noises of the night were the waves crashing against the hull far below and the whispers and giggles of lovers on the balconies to either side.
The night sky was something out of a sci-fi movie. Purple and green clusters of pulsing color. It appeared as though every star in the universe was congested and gathered right above my head. I couldn’t get enough of it. The light pollution was non-existent and what was visible was breathtaking. The stars flickered and fluttered and seemed as if they were speaking in Morse Code to each other.
It was indeed a surreal experience. As though I didn’t belong there. I was an impostor. Like I was intruding on something greater than me. I was provided special permission and full access to see the secrets of the galaxy. My own personal light show.
The ocean at night, far far away from land, is a powerful sight. I can’t wait to see it again.
In the meantime, that sight exists only in my memories. For now, it’s confined to the dream world. My conjured fantasy land. The only place in the universe where I exist as a different person. A place in the universe I visit when my eyes are closed.
It’s all yours. Every grain of sand. Every air molecule. Every drop of blood and water. It’s yours. Your inheritance. You are the ruler of this world.
“I want to talk to Joseph.”
Oh, now you want to speak to him? Joseph isn’t here right now. You’ll have to leave a message. He’s just a middle man. A gatekeeper. When the time is right, he’ll say hello.
“Where am I heading?”
It appears the southern most tip of the continent. The furthest south one can walk. You’ll get there in a minute.
A minute was forever. He lied.
I did arrive eventually, but was winded and tired. I was thirsty and without my canteen. The sun was rising in a cloudless sky ahead, and when I thought the walk would never end, it did abruptly where the ocean met the sand.
My bare toes wiggled in the still water and I stared off to the horizon.
I was finally home.
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