Sunday, April 23, 2006


a fine rain

The band was playing, and a few people were dancing around. I wanted to get out there and partake, but didn't want to be there without a friend to laugh with or without a person with which to exchange dancing eyes. Looking on, trying to hide my longing (and trying to pretend that I love being a wallflower), I overcame my shyness, and allowed for the slim possibility of twirling, so I hurried to the cabin and exchanged my skirt and flipflops for shorts and sneakers. I returned to the dance floor, and I found that the moment had passed. I couldn't join anymore. It would be too awkward.

I climbed the stairs to the upper deck, and all around I witnessed happiness and belonging. Beautiful lights, close couples, festive music.

And suddenly, I couldn't take it. The envy was just too much. So I began to walk along the track on the deck, loneliness being my eco-friendly fuel. At one end of the ship, music and love. At the other end, darkness and a chance to exhale in the cool breezes. Circling the dance floor from the deck above was my way of increasing my pace, the gravity and pull swinging me around to the safe side. Walking was my escape.

Soon enough, I had done a mile. And it had made me feel better. Somewhat sweatily stumbling to the bar, I asked for a water and a drink. On my last swing around, the band had finished their show, and the crowd had dispersed - some going to an inside bar, others to a dance floor, others to their rooms. A few remained to savor the night air.

I stood on the eleventh deck at the railing, watching the lights of the island end and the murky blackness of the ocean begin. Slightly cold - no, just not warm - I silently hoped that some handsome stranger would come up behind me and wrap his coat around my shoulders. Instead of feeling violated, or annoyed, I'd turn in surprise and instantly feel a connection. It wouldn't be a shady old man or a 14 year old boy expressing male bravado, but a person that I would see and instantly know that this is the one, the one whose jacket felt perfect.

But no, no one came and warmed my chilled shoulders. I stood there, welcoming the dark ocean for the unknown that it would bring. I stood there, drinking my frozen margarita, thinking that the bartender misheard me, or doesn't know what "peach" means, or perhaps that someone had put the peach flavoring back in the wrong place, for what I was drinking was certainly not what I had ordered. But that was okay. It tasted fine, and I couldn't bear dumping the drink overboard, in case the bartender was watching and would be offended.

And drinking the wrong drink just added to my feeling of being a martyr, and part of me was in that mood. If I couldn't be loved, I could at least be wronged and indignant.

It began to sprinkle, and instead of dreading a drenching, I was welcoming it. Seeing it as a chance for everyone else to run inside, and leave me alone in my thoughts of loneliness. But the sky didn't keep its promise of storm, and it stopped raining after my hopes had been raised.

I decided to start walking again, if only to warm up and shake off the mist. But not with the fiery stride of before.

Contrary to how this story is going, I didn't end the night staring into the swirling waves, despondently wishing for the courage to hurl myself overboard - quite the opposite, in fact. For those solitary turns on a windy deck gave me moments of introspection. And there is something so peaceful about being a ship in the middle of the sea. Lonely, but peaceful.

I must say, you're a really excellent writer. I hope the rest of the trip was fun :-)
Perhaps you've spent the last year in the wrong field...that could have been a passage taken from the pages of any great travel writer. Timeless, can wear my coat any day of the week.

oh stop it, you guys.

(oh, do go on)
Welcome back Meg! and let me welcome the you write very well comments.
Meg- that is very very well written, seriously I got a shiver- haha ok just read the other comments - see we all agree!!!!
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