On the fourth day, dead ahead, an emerald atoll rose slowly from the shimmering blue. Rich climbed below. He grabbed the sextant and took a reading on deck. He returned below and found his location on the map. “Marutea,” he said pointing to a small speck.
Rich dropped the sails and cast the anchors within a comfortable distance of the white sand shores. He slid the dinghy into the water and motored ashore. He tugged the dinghy safely onto the beach and walked further to a raise where there stood a grove of palms.
From there he saw the green atoll stretch north and south. Both sides pinched inward to the west. Before him lay a beautiful tranquil lagoon like a blue velvet carpet.
“Harry!” Rich yelled. “If you are here come out.” He laughed and delighted in the raw beauty and in a perverse way, having it for his own.
He climbed up a slanted coconut tree and scanned the western horizon with his binoculars. “There it is, the western edge of the atoll. This is a lagoon for sure.”
He climbed down the tree and began to explore the shore of the lagoon. “How long can I stay?” Rich thought. “Forever is not long enough.”
“I will find an opening to the lagoon—if one exists,” Rich thought, “and sail The Odyssey into it and stay for a while or forever. Wait a minute, can I have pizza delivered.”
Rich combed the beach to the south and found a deep channel into the lagoon. He walked back to the dinghy and motored back to The Odyssey.
An hour later he anchored snugly within the lagoon and fried some fish, potatoes, and eggs. He ate in the covered cockpit amid the warmth and beauty of God’s pleasure. Pleasant white birds fluttered and darted into the shimmering crystal blue lagoon. The satisfaction brought him near to tears.
Rich went below and dug out his swimming trunks and swam to the shore. He sat against the trunk of a palm and fell asleep.
Rich grabbed a bail from the baler and flung it atop the stack on the wagon. Uncle Bob shoved in on the clutch and quickly let it out. Rich stumbled and landed on the ground.
Uncle Bob stopped the tractor and tuned to Rich. “You are so stupid. You should always expect something like that will happen.”
“You mean a stupid uncle popping the clutch for no good reason? Yeah, I should have known how stupid and uncaring you are.”
“I got a good mind to climb down off this tractor and take a good beating to you.”
Uncle Bob slowly let out on the clutch and pulled away.
From nowhere Rich’s mother appeared. “Get back on the wagon and help your uncle.”
“I’m on an island in the South Pacific. I can wake up anytime I want to and Uncle Bob will be gone.”
“And so will I,” she said.
“But I don’t want you to go,” Rich said.
“Uncle Bob and I are brother and sister, that’s the way it is.”
“But I’m your son,” Rich said.
“Uncle Bob stayed and you left,” she said.
“He is part of the reason I left,” Rich said.
“That’s only a convenient excuse,” she said.
“Than why did I leave?” Rich said.
“You didn’t belong,” she said. “You just didn’t belong.”
“I didn’t know it was that obvious,” Rich said.
Uncle Bob stood next to Rich’s mother. “You must go.”
Rich’s mother repeated, “You must go.”
Rich awoke. “And I did.”
He stretched and walked along the lagoon’s beach. He whispered, “I can not allow a dream dictate my mood or perception of reality. But this somberness hovers above me like a malingering raven.”
Rich dove into the lagoon in sort of a baptismal ritual. He swam near the bottom and emerged in a gush.
“I’m clean—for the time being.”
Rich returned to The Odyssey.