Other than being marooned on some distant planet in a far away galaxy, the seas are about as lonely as it can be. It is a test of fortitude and emotional fitness.
Rich surmised, “If a man can not live with himself, how can he possibly live with others. A man must live with himself for a while. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days. He was tempted and did not succumb. What is my temptation? Is this my test? Will I be purified and fit when it is all done? Dear, God, above all, help me to know who I am. I don’t have to know where I will end up. I just want to know who I am. Please help me. Thank you for this journey, the boat, and the good people I’ve met.”
The winds blustered a day and a half and suddenly as if someone shut a window on a breezy day they halted. The sails hung motionless like the curtains on a shut window. Rich, being unsure how much gas would be needed to motor into more favorable conditions decided to sit; after all this was not an emergency and there existed no timetable.
The sun seemed to stand motionless overhead and exuded heat like the open door of a blast furnace. It was near intolerable. The cabin resembled a sauna. Heat from the deck painfully blistered Rich’s bare feet. It penetrated the canvas like a hot iron on fabric.
He removed his clothes and pulled on swim trunks and splashed into the water. After 10 minutes he pulled himself on board feeling a bit more refreshed. However, the intense heat returned and left him no better than before.
Near sundown, Rich heard a slight flap in the mainsail. He glanced up and watched it slowly quiver. “We have something coming our way, dear lady.”
The sun sat with little change. Two hours of darkness elapsed before any sort of noticeable change in the temperature. He lowered two cans of beer on a rope about 30 feet below the surface.
Rich spent as little time as possible in the galley preparing a meal. He made a fried spam sandwich. He ate it with one of his beers and had the other later.
The sea rested quietly and frighteningly eerie. Rich heard his heartbeat and for a moment thought he heard the sweat roll from his temple.
“What is the color of silence,” Rich thought. “It cannot be black, because death had already laid claim to it. Anger is red. White is peace. Green is life. No color captures it. It must be something. I will find the color best suited for silence. It shall be gray. It is neither death nor peace nor life, but somewhere in between.”
He stretched out on the bench and slept there.
Three hours into the sleep he heard the mainsail flap. It registered little notice, he expected it sooner or later. When hearing the mast groan from the push of the wind he smiled. He felt the forward movement of The Odyssey, now free from the rut that held her trapped in a still silent sea.
The Odyssey eased into motion and slowly sliced through the dark waters. Not only did she part the waters, but she parted the gray silence of a quiet sea.