The Vessel

By @justawriter01
The Vessel

Just a ship that can take me somewhere different from where I am now.

Chapter 1

Something Old, Somewhere New

There once was a ship, that you never could see. It would disappear as soon as the captain was onboard to sail out to sea. The crew was a mess of scoundrels and inventors, of geniuses turned insane, of the daring turned inward. The outside was made of wooden planks older than time itself and the deck as clean as a hospital floor and railing crusted with life and muck. There was a single line of steps up to the steering wheel, worn and polished. The underbelly consisted of comings and goings, of life itself. Musky with unwashed sweat and sweet with the thunderous laughter and roars of its crew. Songs floated along the hall ceilings and story books of outrageous claims filled each cabin. The galley wafted smells of onions and savory somethings along the noses of the men aboard. This vessel was made for speed but built to go nowhere. It was bulky as a lumberjack and lithe as a tiger. The ship had a mind of it’s own and a soul of deep love for all it touched. It sang to the sea cows and lulled the crew to sleep at night. It upheld it’s integrity during the most daunting of storms and allowed the freedom to meander on deck during the loveliest of days. The ship was carrying lost souls, harboring those wanderers and misfits. The men were so different that they never got bored. There was always some other point of view that had to be heard or another story to be told. There was always something new happening within the heart of the ship. Feet scuttling along the well-worn floors and raucous thunder during the day of conversations gone right and those that had gone wrong. Always picking up another here and there, and dropping off some—rarely, and tumultuous feelings flooded those times. Change was ongoing and never fully embraced nor shunned.

I first heard about this story from a friend of a friend who had been out with us one evening. The story wasn’t even for my ears, but still I heard. I listened. I wanted so badly, deeply, for no reason at all to know if what I had overheard was true. Could there be this place where there was always nothing and everything to live for? With people who had lived so much and lost so much, and were loved so much? I had to know, so I set off. A journey that I would not soon forget.

As I packed my bags that I had just waxed with fabric wax to keep them dry, I looked around at my room—my life, so full of things but so empty. Missing key ingredients—amost like I was trying to make pasta without the noodles. It was so good, but I could never taste it. Almost the equivalent of having a stuffy nose and still trying to taste your favorite meal. You know it’s good—you want it to taste like you know it should. And then you get so frustrated when nothing but cardboard enters your mouth. The teasing and tantalizing nature of this experience is exhausting emotionally. How can you be so close to something so perfect, but actually be so far away?

The bag was ******** with warm clothes and snacks, so much so that I had to sit on it to zip it up—sit, pullll, tug the zipper, sit, pulll, tug the zipper. Inch by inch closing the lid on my future to escape my present. After it was secure, I started the longest and shortest journey I can remember.

The ship was hidden within 15 people’s whispering rumors, 28 taverns of bustling drunkards, 32 cities, and 50 long arduous nights of hoping the next day would be the last of my searching. 

As I stepped onto the dock, I knew I was striding toward a pinnacle of my life. A turning point I would not soon return from. A new me—waiting, going, sailing away.

The ship rocked under my rubber soled, steel toed work boots. Laced up above my ankles as to not turn an ankle and wool socks to stay dry even when wet. As I opened the red swinging doors to enter the under-open-air part of the ship, I felt a warm embrace of hot air envelop me and sounds of high energy wafted past me. My first step inside was full of hope, optimism, and excitement.

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