Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines – October 1992
I lie back on the plank and stare up at the sky. The sailboat gently rocks. It is a maternal, comforting motion, and my eyelids grow heavy. I turn my head to gaze into this sea of liquid emerald, which seems to exist only in this cluster of uninhabited islets. The captain and his wife are snorkeling in the nearby reef. Hans and I went earlier. Nueng doesn’t like the water, so she watched us from the deck. Now they are napping in the V Berth.
When I went below for something to drink, I couldn’t keep myself from peeking in at them. Hans had his massive arm thrown around Nueng. It was a protective, asexual embrace. I forced my curiosity aside. It is none of my business. Not so long ago, on another voyage, I was the subject of such scrutiny. It bothered me so much that I couldn’t fully enjoy the trip. I should have been more like them. They are happy. They are not hurting anyone. That’s all that matters.
Since leaving Grenada three days ago, I’ve relaxed considerably. If any unsavory demands were to be made, they would have happened by now. We have seen Carriacou, Canouan, Union Island, and Palm Island. Places that I never knew existed. Tomorrow we leave for Mustique, and then, in two days, this fairy tale will end. I will return to the late autumn gloom of Michigan. To contemplation of an obscure future while I go through the motions of being alive.
Despair moves through me and then dissipates. Its power is diminished here. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.