Excerpt about the voyage home from
One of the sailors led me to my cabin. We stepped carefully over cables of twisted steel littering the deck. We circled around bristly-faced men in heavy boots and watch-cap hats shouting in Polish as they lowered massive containers onto the bow.
The loading continued all day and into the night. We were still in port when I went to bed. They had given me a spacious double room overlooking the bow with large square windows on two sides. I could hardly wait till we set sail. Before turning in I wrote in my journal,
I must return. I can’t run anymore. I will go back across the water. I want to be a sailor. I want to love the sea. I want to see the sky change as we travel west. I want each wave to mean something. I want to sail across knowing that bottomless depths lie below and not be afraid. I will face the wind and the sea, and we will roll across the waves to America. The waves will rock me to sleep and I will dream a new dream.
But first I was living out an old dream, the dream of sailing across the sea. And maybe that was my new dream, this return to my original self.
I lay sleepless in my cabin, listening to the roar of the ship’s engines. The noise was as deafening as the subway at Forty-Second Street, all the trains coming in at once. It sounded so close, as if the engines were just on the other side of my cabin wall. The roar would continue until we reached New York Bay and the tug boats pulled us the rest of the way in.
Yet I did sleep. And sometime during the night we got underway. What a joy to wake up in the morning with nothing to see but the blue of the water and the blue of the sky, both of them endless. It wasn’t long before the noise of the ship became part of the sea and its vastness. Day after day I woke up to nothing but sky and water. Nothing but unlimited space. I had never thought the world could look so empty. Occasionally a tanker or another cargo ship was visible in the distance, no bigger than a spec on the horizon. We must have looked the same to them. A spec in the landscape. Yet I felt part of it all. Part of this glorious unbounded world of wind and water.
By the end of a week I no longer remembered what it was like to live in a world not constantly moving. Forward, forward. Always forward. We were fleeing the sun in the morning, only to chase it by late afternoon. All during the second week, on each of the last five days, we turned our watches back one hour. Gaining time instead of losing it. Perhaps it was the thought of gaining that made me realize how everything that had happened up until now had been worth it, because it had brought me to this place. And this place was perfect.
From The Nancy Who Drew © Nancy Wait 2011