Goodbye to a Friend
Altogether Rich and Dennis toured six days in Montevideo and the vicinity. It was good for both.
The pilothouse was stored away and they sat in the cockpit as pleasant breeze strolled in from the southeast. Mid morning slowly arrived like an unwelcome disease.
Dennis glanced at his wristwatch.
“Anxious?” Rich said.
“No,” Dennis said, “punctual.”
“When do you think you should leave?” Rich said.
“I should leave anytime within the next fifteen minutes,” Dennis said. “That will give me plenty of time to drop off the car and check in at the airport.”
“Thanks for coming,” Rich said.
“Thanks for inviting,” Dennis said.
“When do you think you’ll arrive in Canberra?” Rich said.
“I don’t have to be there until June,” Dennis said, “although my uncle said anytime in May will do. By the time you arrive I’ll have something planned.”
“If it’s not asking too much,” Rich said. “Could you maybe become acquainted with a client who has a daughter or younger sister about my age? You’re the PR man you ought to be able to soften my image and make me appear handsome, debonair, and desirable.”
“It’s PR, not BS,” Dennis said.
“I think your flight is ready,” Rich said.
“I’m going to miss you, Rich,” Dennis said. “You have a great future ahead of you. You can write. And if the chance arises lie about your lack of education and enroll in a small college. Study hard for a semester and transfer to someplace that has good accreditation. They won’t check any further than your last transcript. And get your degree from the best school possible. It won’t make you smarter, but it will make you impressive.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Rich said. “I’m not sure that is my path.”
“You’re right,” Dennis said. “You’re already on a path.”
Rich leaned back and looked beyond the marina to the open waters as if seeing some distant land.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
“Frost,” Dennis said, “he wrote that for you.”
“I believe he did,” Rich said.
“I wish I could travel that road,” Dennis said.
“I think you will someday,” Rich said. “For some it comes later. You’ll know it when you see it.”
“Did you know it?” Dennis said.
“Yeah,” Rich said, “and the one I took seemed the most natural.”
Dennis stood up. He had no bag to carry. It was already placed inside the car. He extended his hand. “Good sailing, my friend.”
Rich shook his hand.
Dennis smiled at Zeke. “Take care of this guy and see to it he gets to Canberra – it’s a city in Australia.”
“Dogs and geography,” Rich said.
Rich gave him a firm hug and backed away. “I don’t know how to say this.”
Dennis stepped on to the dock. “I won’t,” Dennis said. “I’ll see you in Canberra and that’s my bloody oath and I’ll be havin’ a sheila already for ya.” He flashed a boyish grin. “G’day, mate.”
Dennis drove away; two sharp beeps came from the car’s horn as he did.
Rich settled back to a cup of tea. He thought fondly of the days with Dennis, but it was back to work; the boat needed stocked and course charted.