“You’ve always done everything you ever said you were going to do,” my best friend says to me. She’s on a cell phone in Seattle. I can hear the rain and sirens from a passing police car.
“You don’t understand,” I say. “This isn’t just some job I’m trying to get in another country. I’m afraid I’m going to get this boat but be paralyzed by the responsibility, so it will sit there unmaintained and degrading. And I’ll be living on this tiny floating thing that has become some kind of prison.”
“That won’t happen,” she says. “I’ve got to go.”
She hangs up.
Somehow this validation from my friends makes me feel better. How they’re already telling their people in these cities so far away from me about this boat I’m getting that they’re going to be sailing on soon.
My fears are not irrational. I’ve been shirking my boat responsibilities. Yes, I’ve been working a lot and socializing more than usual—but I’ve had the time. I need to schedule a survey for the trip I’m taking soon, but I just haven’t done it.
I’m going to see the boat that I think is “the one.” So many sailors have used that cryptic line.
“When you know, you know.”
“But how?” I ask.
“You just know.”
That’s all I can go off. The fact that this boat was the first one I called on four months ago when my pockets were empty. How even when I push her to the bottom of the list she somehow manages to resurface as number one every time. How I’ve already started making the list of what she will need right away in order for me to be comfortable splashing her and living aboard.
How her name is translated into English as “Soul Friend,” and how my handful of nearest and dearest mates scattered across this country, who are the only people that I can talk to when I’m on the edge that can make me feel human again—how I’ve always referred to them as my “soul friends.”