“Whosoever followeth truth to near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth.”
(Or whoever. Don’t ask me, I’m just the writer.)
Sometimes at night I look up into the darkness. As I squint up into the hazy abyss I often think of that night on the catamaran when every star was visible from where I lay. Every sparkle of light was a world, a collection of colors blinking with the greatest clarity into the farthest reaches of nothingness. Into the universe – endlessly lighting the pitch black. And the moon! It rose so red that we feared the Island of St Helena was on fire after we had left. Genuine fear had gripped us. And then the red glow enfolded into gold and the stars faded against its magnificence. Amarula had never tasted so good. Before then I’d never painted anything red before.
There are some memories that never fade. Some of those memories, at least in my case, were preserved for a time in a very precious diary, which got lost. For years my anger at the loss banished the memories themselves from my mind. My anger, directed at the ‘loser’, was self-inflicted. More than anything it was the result of years of denial; yonks and yonks of time spent fostering the inability to make up my mind. About anything, that is. And I still suffer from the symptoms of indecision – to my own detriment (at least now I am my own financial burden and can throw away no one else’s money.) Money mostly spent on memories. For, it bought nothing else in the end: nothing but pain and acute seasickness – ultimately anger.
But this isn’t the end of the story. In fact, I will never stop wanting to return to the sea to have another adventure. Neither will I stop trying to make back my grandfather’s money. One day I will pay back every cent, I tell myself. Because the questions will always haunt me: “Was it worth it?”, “Did I learn anything?” and, of course “Did I walk away form it a changed person?” Ridiculous questions really. But these are the standards by which we measure ourselves. Gain, for one, experience on the other hand and last, but not least, personal growth. As if either one of those things can be measured by any standard. Certainly not by anyone who’s trying to be subjective! Which makes the whole situation ironic.
Yes, sometimes I look up at the stars and dream of the good times onboard the Sunsail 384. Other times I look up and can’t remember a darn thing…which gets me worried. If anything, I don’t wish my time on the Atlantic to have been much more of a loss than it already seems to have been. I wish for some of it, at least, to linger if only for its entertainment value. Which is why I have decided to write about it! What better way to immortalize an experience than to record it in some form (and to hope someone who borrows it doesn’t try to eat it for its medicinal value – or worse). R70 000 doesn’t get any cheaper. My memory’s not getting any better. So, here goes….
FWY – If you want to pull out, do it now and do it properly; quitting half-heartedly only gets you deeper into trouble (and I should know! Two months of seasickness is no joke. ‘Prevention is better than cure’. If you don’t follow my advice then no one will).