At the end of a work day Rich and Thomas walked down the lane leading to the road. They chatted and parted at the road, each going in different directions; Rich to the right toward The Odyssey and Thomas to the left toward Cordington.
“Rich!” Thomas said.
Rich stopped and turned. “Yeah, Thomas, what’s up?”
“Why not walk with me to my home and have an evening meal with my family?” Thomas said.
“That doesn’t sound like such a bad idea,” Rich said. “Why not wait for a night when plans have been made. An extra person might cause confusion.”
“No,” Thomas said, “Confusion is normal in my home. I have younger siblings. I’ve been wanting to invite you for a while. My mother said anytime. She always prepares extra.”
Rich walked with Thomas toward Cordington; along the way they talked
“How long after the boat is launched do you think you will leave?” Thomas said.
“That’s up to Salty,” Rich said, “but I expect he’ll want to stay around for at least a couple more weeks to see how the boat performs.”
“You said it was your goal to sail around the world,” Thomas said, “Is there no time table?”
“I first thought about taking 18 months to two years,” Rich said, “but I have nothing waiting for me anywhere.”
“What about family?” Thomas said.
“That’s a subject on its own,” Rich said. “Let me just say that home is not an option that needs to be entertained for the present or future.”
“Are you estranged from your parents?” Thomas said.
“Yes,” Rich said, “and not to appear rude, it is not a subject I wish to discuss.”
“That is no problem,” Thomas said. “If you have friends with problems you have problems.”
“Believe me, Thomas,” Rich said, “If I see a problem coming, I’m on my boat and out to sea.”
“So you run from your problems?” Thomas said.
“That’s not the way I put it,” Rich said. “I just like to put some distance between me and them.”
“I see the difference,” Thomas said, “I think.”
“Are you sure your family expecting a guest?” Rich said.
“Yes,” Thomas said. “I talked to them about you and they urged me to extend an invitation. You’re not trying to back out are you?”
“No,” Rich smiled, “of course not.”
“Have you ever had goat?” Thomas said.
“No,” Rich said, “Are you trying to make me back out?”
“No,” Thomas grinned, “but a lot of white people from the United States are unwilling to try it. I just want to warn you.”
“I’ve eaten lamb,” Rich said. “As far as I’m concerned if you can eat lamb you can eat anything.”
“I have never had lamb,” Thomas said.
“Take a hand full of wool and eat it,” Rich said. “That’s the taste.”
“Than it is acquired,” Thomas said.
“No,” Rich said, “it’s forced.”