Three Hundred Thirty One: Dark and Stormy Friday

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”  – Willa Cather

Friday, November 28th

They call it “Black Friday”. Well, today it was Black and it was windy and stormy.

My husband and I boarded an early boat that would take us two hours outside of the city for a little weekend get-away. My brother had offered up his apartment for us to stay in, and it was an offer too good to refuse. We could celebrate our wedding anniversary and get some alone time in without the kids. Nestled in to our seat, the first announcement was that there were gale warnings and if we were interested in taking anti-nausea medication then now was the time.

Umm, okay. Husband opted for the medication and I went without. How bad could the winds really be? The boat rocked quite a bit, and I continued to text to my in-laws who were watching the kids. It got to the point where reading the phone screen paired with the rocking made me dizzy, so I put it down. The boat was really taking on some wild up-and-down and side-to-side wave motion. I closed my eyes and rested my head on my husband, digging my fingers into his knee when it got bad. The operators confirmed that the large thud on the left side of the boat was a “stick” stuck in the engine. In order to get it out, they would need to stop the engines which would make us very prone to the wave motion and then backflush the engines. If that didn’t work, the engineer would need to physically remove it. WHAT???? Grown men were vomiting into barf bags.

Around this time, I reached the point where I absolutely had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the back of the boat where the restrooms were and it was a wasteland for the nauseous. A tall teen girl was limply holding on to the rail, green at the gills, while her friend stood nearby. A short man around my age was sweating profusely and asked the staff member whether this rocking was normal. And then it all clicked into place for me. I told him that the boat had to stop so they could backflush the engines. They were getting the stick out so we could move full throttle through the inclement weather. I got him to sit down on the stairs with me and the staffer brought him a cool cloth. I knew that as long as I kept talking, I would be helping fix this man’s attention on something other than his own fears.

I finally got my chance to go to the restroom and when I came out, I offered to help the man back to his seat. He politely declined, and then I knew that the rest of the sailing would be okay. My husband was still fairly dizzy so I kept conversation minimal. I asked him whether this was meant to be a metaphor for our marriage to which he answered “Maybe”. Things had been rough at times, but the point was that we’d made it through on calmer seas.

We were one of the first people to exit the boat, and after kissing the ground we headed straight to a restaurant where we placed anything with ginger on our plates. Onwards and forwards!

At what point in an uncomfortable situation do you start to panic?


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