Last January, a few days after I’d returned from Mom’s funeral and being in Lubbock for most of the month, a friend asked me how to get from Puerto Vallarta to Fort Lauderdale. After I gave her the benefit of my vast travel experience (which has most recently been by bus, but I do remember a few airlines and where they go) I asked her why she wanted to know.
‘I’m going on a cruise!’ she said blithely, ‘twenty seven days for under $2,000! Want to come?’
I was wrung out from the past thirty days since Mom passed on suddenly Christmas Day. The calendar squares for the next several months were filled with scrunchy writing, cross outs and footnotes. (No, I don’t use that gmail calendar. I use scraps of paper, usually ones that I’ve salvaged out of my printer after they’ve jammed.) My question was not ‘To where?’ but ‘When?’
‘The end of April!’ she trilled.
‘Well, I was thinking about getting a face lift about that time,’ says I, nothing if not painfully open with what comes into my head. Mortality had been weighing heavily on me. A cruise sounded a lot more restful. And easier to explain. Or justify…to Mom. OK, I still hear her voice in my head. ‘Count me in,’ I said. We made reservations the next day.
And I finally, after these last few months of incredible activity, looked at the itinerary. I’m in awe of how God takes care of idiots. Or very tired people. I’d been focusing on the first leg of the journey, eight days in the middle of the Atlantic. ‘Just get me that far, and let me decompress,’ I’ve been thinking. But there is actually something beyond that horizon I’ve been looking forward to staring at. This is going to be a wonderful trip! Like a once in a lifetime thing. It is finally registering with me that those ports, Gibraltar, Alicante, Barcelona, Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Mykonos, Alexandria, Piraeus, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Venice, some of which I’d never heard, give access to the cradles of western civilization. This is that trip I was always going to take….some time in the future. Guess what, amiga? The future is now.