A Place to Relax
“Sir,” Rich said approaching Patrick. He stood close and talked so no one else might hear. “We, and especially me, had no idea we would find the island so welcoming and full of good will. There is a slight problem that you should be made aware. First of all Abernathy is as he appears, a good man. However, there are men looking for me. The law has been involved, but that is based on false reports.”
“That is no business of ours,” Patrick said.
“George mentioned that there was little need for official law enforcement on Barbuda,” Rich said. “And I want to keep it that way. On my boat is a small cache of weapons. If those are found by anyone it could pose problems.”
“For you, not for me,” Patrick said.
“But I don’t want it to be your problem,” Rich said.
“So what is your solution?” Patrick said.
“I could sail to some of the Leeward Islands for a couple of weeks and return for Salty,” Rich said.
“Whatever you decide,” Patrick said, “but I have a more practical suggestion, why not drop the weapons in the ocean?”
“That sounds familiar,” Rich said. “As opposed to their use that I am, they did come in handy not so long ago.”
“I can not wrestle with another man’s conscience,” Patrick said, “but I have another practical solution.”
“And that is?” Rich said.
“There is a hut perhaps a quarter kilometer north of George’s home; that would be a good place to hide something.” Patrick said. “I will tell George you have some valuables and wish to keep them there. He will not look in on them nor will he allow anyone else. Nevertheless, no one knows of the hut’s existence except we old timers.”
“It is up to you, Rich.” Salty said.
“I’ll stay,” Rich said.
“I will find a donkey to carry your things,” Patrick said.
Patrick pointed toward the location of the hut. Rich told Salty and Patrick to return to Cordington and he would find his way.
Rich loaded a donkey and led it to the hut. The ten by ten wooden structure rested weather beaten by time and neglect. A table and a few chairs decorated the interior, A couple of old liquor bottles sat on the nogging. Rich unpacked the donkey, placed the cache in a corner, and led it back to near George’s home.
Rich walked back to Cordington like a man with no place to go nor any schedule to meet. “When was the last time I felt like this?” he thought. “Is this what it means to be free? It is as if I could walk right into the sea and walk upon the waters and just walk forever. Endlessness is more instinctive than death. I don’t want this walk to end.”
Rich found his way back to Patrick’s home.
Salty and Patrick were in a deep conversation. Rich told them he was going to walk to the shore of the lagoon that bordered Cordington to the south.
Rich walked to the shore. He purchased a Coke from a small store and sat on the beach leaning against an old skiff.
For the most part Rich’s thoughts were blank, merely taking in the view of a calm blue lagoon under blue tropical skies. A breeze as pure as and angels breath parted his hair. Palms swayed like romantic lovers dancing to the beat of a the sea’s natural rhythm. Tufts of grass dotted the beach, each a world of its own. Small birds darted across the blue sky and some darted headlong into the lagoon. Bouffant cotton white clouds passed above like floating islands in the sky transforming into shapes of people, animals, and puffed kernels of corn. During this little sit down he realized the tension sailing put on him. He relaxed to the point he thought he was about to ooze into the sand; a mellow good feeling. Eventually he strolled the lagoon shore for a while and explored the streets of Cordington.
He stumbled upon a small open air cafe. He relaxed at a table under the shade of palm leaves. He purchased a bottle of Mauby and a roast pork sandwich.
After eating he continued to walk the streets. For what reason he did not know. In many ways it was not so different than any number of small farming towns in northwest Ohio. Cordington appeared unspoiled by the disease that follows sophistication and worldliness; anger, distrust, crime, decadence, and lack of respect, politeness and courtesy. Everyone greeted Rich with smiles and good cheer. Children behaved polite and friendly. Heartfelt greetings awaited at every turn by adults and yet not meddlesome in nature. Yet, he possesed the feeling everyone knew of his whereabouts and expected him to pass by.
Not by design nor desire Rich found himself back at Patrick’s home.
At Patrick’s home there existed no worries concerning his whereabouts. Information flowed to Nelson’s home several times throughout the day concerning Rich’s meanderings.
Fredrick walked away from the house as Rich approached.
“Did you have a good day?” Fredrick smiled.
“A very good day,” Rich said.
“We were kept up to date as to your whereabouts,” Frederick said.
Rich smiled trying to hide how uncomfortable that made he feel.
“Oh, don’t get us wrong, Rich,” Frederick said, “we are not interfering people. We are merely curious and besides you are our guest and we don’t want you to get lost.”
“Are there any secrets on this island?” Rich smiled.
“Oh, no,” Fredrick said. “When we run short of secrets to talk about we start to make them up. It is so good you and Abernathy are here; already we have enough stories to last a year.”