A Sight for Old Eyes
On the eighth day from Bermuda Salty came on deck at 5:50 AM from a night’s sleep.
“How’s she holding?” Salty asked.
“Steady,” Rich said. “I was able to do a reading last night and made a five degree adjustment. We should be seeing Barbuda at noon.”
“I was dreaming about the first time I was there,” Salty said, “but in the dream I wasn’t sick. I was fresh and alive. The island was so beautiful. The sand was soft like cotton and the waves rushed around me. I ran along the beach. I can’t wait to see the ole island.”
“I wonder if there will be anyone alive who remembers you,” Rich said.
“Everybody has died or moved on,” Salty said. “From time to time I’d go to the a library to try and find new information and I asked people who had been to the Caribbean if they ever visited Barbuda. Only a few heard of it. A couple of people I talked to who were there said the island was nearly dead; only a thousand or so people there.”
“Well, we’ll spend some time there before we sail on,” Rich said. “We’ll spend as much time as you want. I’m in no hurry.”
“There may be a couple of placed I might visit,” Salty said, “but things change.”
“It sounds to me like little changes on Barbuda,” Rich said.
“Memories fade,” Salty said. “I was there for only a month or so. A stranger visiting over 40 years ago for one month – nah, nobody will remember. And I didn’t raise a lot of Cain when I was there; I was deathly sick and thought I was going to die.”
“That may be enough to jog a memory,” Rich said.
“Now you’ve given me something to think about,” Salty said. “I didn’t want to do any thinkin’ today.”
“Goodnight, Salty.” Rich said. I’m turning in early. I want to get up around noon. Wake me if I oversleep.”
“Sure thing, mate,” Salty said.
“Oh by the way,” Rich said. “I made some french toast for you. You might have to heat them up a little. Don’t expect anything great from powdered eggs and milk.”
“That’s okay,” Salty salty said, “the syrup will make it all fine.”
Rich awoke at 12:30 PM. He rushed to the helm. Salty was asleep on the bench.
Rich quickly looked at the compass. “Dead on,” he said.
He peered beyond the bow and there it was – Barbuda!
“Salty,” Rich nudged.
Salty jerked, yawned and stretched. “That sun made my eyes heavy.”
“Stand up and look over the bow,” Rich said.
Salty stood and rubbed his eyes. “Barbuda,” he grinned.
There it was serene, placid, green, and beautiful, wrapped in a ribbon of white and pink sand.