Alone, But Not Lonely
Full of dread, Rich motored the Beyond along the waterway. He stayed low in the pilothouse mindful at any time a bullet from shore might pierce his skull just as it did Tommy’s. He steered around a bald desolate patch of land jutting into the sea, protecting the bay of Puerto San Julian. After a comfortable distance from shore, no chances were taken; he crawled from the pilothouse. He hoisted the sails and headed due east.
Rich crawled back below and sat at the chart table. He spread the chart and quickly immersed in deep thoughts of a strategy to outmaneuver the stalking brood of Sam White and Dave Smithson were a part. It played in his mind as if a mental chess match.
Zeke laid curled in a blanket on the a cabin bench.
“Zeke,” Rich said.
He lifted his head as if a cherished duty.
“Every direction I contemplate is a direction I think can be predicted,” Rich said. “I could continue east and to the Falklands and winter there. I could sail back north and retrace. I could go east beyond the Falklands and head for Africa. There is always the possibility of continuing as I’ve planned. What do you think, Zeke?”
Zeke laid his head down and looked at him as if to say ‘don’t expect any advice from me, you got yourself in this mess and you’re going to get yourself out.’
“I know,” Rich said, “It’s my choice. The problem is the ability to change directions quickly. Boats don’t move fast. White and Smithson have eyes and other resources. All I have is advance knowledge. There is one thing for certain; they will have their eyes on the Strait. What if I should sail around the horn? They would not expect that. Definitely, Zeke, they would not expect that. Are you up for such journey?”
Zeke lost interest. His eyes slowly dropped asleep – or pretending and ignoring Rich completely.
“Some help you are,” Rich said.
After estimating 20 miles off shore, a course was set for due south in his mind.
“In my heart it is the Cape I fear more than the Strait and it is the Cape I fear more than White and Smithson.”
After securing the deck Rich ducked below and prepared a meal. It was an experiment; a ground beef patty fried with onions. He drained the grease and heated a can of pork and beans in the onions. The odor increased his appetite.
Rich ate a couple bites. “Not bad. It may catch on, but I wouldn’t build a restaurant around it.”
After the meal and clean-up Rich sat down to a cup of tea. He used the typewriter and typed six ideas for stories based upon the last few weeks.
He leaned forward on the chart table with his chin resting in his palms. “It is good to be alone again. Loneliness and alone are not the same thing.”
Sleep was not far. Three blankets kept Rich warm during the night.
The Beyond gently tossed and drifted on her own through the night. Rich woke only a couple times during the night.
The first time he awakened a gentle thought passed through his mind, “The sea can be so dangerous, but I feel safe and content.”