Dearest Rachel –
So, we are now headed back toward Florida; another non-stop sail of some 1,200 miles or so. Two whole days of nothing but open ocean, as we make our return. This is the dénouement; barring something catastrophic or stupid (or catastrophically stupid), these last two days will be considerably less eventful than the ones before.
There will be no more ports of call to leave the ship for and start running around, looking for attractions – or at least places to pick up souvenirs. I’m mildly regretful I didn’t have time to pick up a Curaçao flag, to be honest – but I never saw one during my morning walkabout, for all the shops I did visit. I suppose I do have notes about some bedding to look into, but that can be done at home. Besides, I’ve spent the better part of this last year trying to reduce what we have; there’s no real point in backsliding and starting to accumulate more stuff going forward again.
At the same time, while I may not have covered every inch of this ship by any means (I’m not about to find myself hanging out in the fitness center, for instance), I pretty much know my way around. So there’s not that much in the way of exploring to do it at this point, either. I’ll admit, I did try to book one of those virtual reality adventures after all a couple of days ago; while the app said there were seven slots still available (for the entire week, mind you!), it turned out to be already fully spoken for by Tuesday. I think I’m way too spontaneous in nature for this kind of thing. If my dad hadn’t inculcated me with a need to plan shore excursions well in advance, I don’t think I’d ever get out of my room sometimes. I would rather be able to wake up, ask myself ‘what do I feel like doing today?’ and just go do it.
So that leaves me to at least wake up when I want to, take a shower, and spend the next hour or so on the balcony, getting a Franklinesque ‘air bath,’ both in order to dry off, and to obtain a more comprehensive tan. Since we’re headed north, I can only do this in the mornings, as the starboard balconies get exclusively eastern exposure. Admittedly, I don’t have the patience to lie out there for too terribly long, but that’s just as well, as it’s late enough in the day that the sun isn’t going to stick around forever.
I might be able to relate my dreams to you again, seeing that they’re unusual enough to claw their way to prominence over whatever else is happening. But they tend to just be disturbing, whether in terms of simple visuals (the sight of a young Andy Griffith affixed to a Catherine wheel, riddled with arrows a la St. Sebastian, with spark shooting from each arrow wound, is enough to cause one to question one’s sanity for devising this), or in the implications (honestly, I swear it was you I was involving myself with; I could feel every sensation, every curve of your body, every grip of your muscles. Only it turned out to be someone else, someone we know… someone married to someone else. I really hope I can forget this before Monday evening, but I have to unburden myself before you all the same for now).
This is the sort of place the mind goes without sufficient distraction; or at least, where my mind goes. All of which probably simply means that I need to get out of my room, get some breakfast into me, and continue to wander about the ship, in order to give myself sufficient distraction.
A simple plan, you would think, and fairly easy in its implementation. And for a time, it works fairly well. Just as an empty stomach can bring down one’s mood, so the sight of a bountiful array of choices to satisfy one’s appetite can warm one’s heart (while, I suppose, occasionally burning it as well, but those are the risks you run in life).
But you know that I’m not just talking about food here. Granted, I’m more than allowed to eat around here – indeed, it’s one of the things cruise ships have been famous for since before any of our family made a habit of riding them. But the other things that I see that might stir the appetite… not so much. On that matter, I’m restricted to a ‘look but don’t touch’ diet, even as couples of all shapes and ages enjoy each other’s company.
Some cannot seem to keep their hands off of each other, even in the public of the pool. To be sure, there’s nothing particularly untoward going on, but in my condition, even the slightest touch is noticeable, and leaves me wishing I could be doing the same as they with you.
Then there are others the tease each other (at least, I hope they’re teasing each other) about one thing or another that the other has done or not done – I specifically recall a wife who claimed to be mad at her husband because he hadn’t told her they had brownies up in the Windjammer. If this is something they truly find worth getting upset about, I’m of half a mind to smack one or the other for it. However, I’m fairly certain that it was mostly in jest, which still leaves me longing for that kind of engagement once again.
Even when I try to ignore other people interacting with each other, I can’t completely ignore the whole ‘love boat’ vibe. Most of the piped in music is made up of silly love songs; which, yes, Sir Paul, is perfectly all right. There’s nothing wrong with that. As one says when when is dumping another, “it’s not you, it’s me.”
And boy, is it ever me. Even passing by the pool, where they’re about to screen the latest Disney flick, gets to me. You know how the vanity plate goes; you have that image of Cinderella’s castle, and Tinker Bell describing an arch over it to form the Disney logo. And of course, playing behind all that is that old song from Pinocchio, “When you wish upon a star /Makes no difference who you are / When you wish upon a star, your dreams… come… true.”
And all I can think is, “no… they… don’t.” Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his killjoy reminders about the folly of taking poetic terms literally (especially those having to do with astrophysics), notwithstanding, some wishes, it has to be understood, do not come true no matter how many stars you wish upon. This is just how things are, and they are not going to change. That goes for whatever I might wish about you and I, and for the time being, I’m willing to wager the same about anyone I might think to be ‘Megumi.’ She’s no more about to show up than you are, and it’s silly of me to think – or dream – otherwise.
And that’s not the most pleasant thought to leave you on, especially this far into a vacation like this. I shouldn’t be getting this depressed until Sunday morning, when I’m about to get on the plane to go home. Would that you could at least be here in spirit, enough for me to sense it, and not feel quite so lost.
Barring that possibility, honey, at least keep your eye on me.