The boat was old but seaworthy in its own right. The cabin floor was polished and shimmered in the sunlight that seeped in through the anchor-shaped windows. The captain of the Steamer had been in his profession for thirty-five years. His beard and the sea were symbiotic. For much of the journey, Captain Cilmain stood by the navigation console, studying it. Two hours into the voyage, he finally decided to speak.
“So, this island…” he said to me, “I haven’t been there before, but I know where it’s at.”
“I had a friend who wanted to come along, but she became sick at the last minute and couldn’t make it after all,” I answered him.
“So y’all are going to have a party over there?” he asked me.
“Yes. It is going to be a fashion exhibition. It’s my friend’s show.”
With that said, he went back to his controls, examining them with careful scrutiny. I walked out onto the deck and watched the waves as they crashed against the sides of the hull. The seagulls drifted through the white clouds surrounding us. The east coast was long gone behind us now.
A large fin sliced the water’s surface in the near distance. For a time, it raced alongside the boat’s starboard. I felt a queasiness in my stomach all of a sudden. The sound of the waves splashing eased my mind.
“So, how’s the weather out here?” he said, stepping out of the cabin.
“Beautiful,” I said, “I never knew how wonderful the weather was out here this time of the year…”
“Yes, sir. You ever been out here before?” he asked me.
“No. Never. This is my first time visiting this island.”
He scratched his head, and said, “Well, that’ll be a first for the both of us then.”
Dark clouds started to form on the distant horizon, and the seagulls disappeared into them like vanishing apparitions. He said, “Oh, well,” and walked down into the cabin. The rain fell as a sprinkle, and the waves slowly grew bigger. The voyage went fine until we ran into the shoal.