One Old Sage

Thoughts, Stories, and Bits of Wisdom

The Journey – A Short Story

They’d planned this trip for a long time but they knew this was one trip he would take alone. In their fifty plus years of marriage, it wasn’t unusual for them to travel separately. While they loved each other’s company, they also relished the time alone. No concern about what the other person wanted to do, or not do, as the case may be. No sense of obligation beyond yourself.

He’d chosen a cruise for this journey. He loved the sea and the feel of a cruise ship. They had taken dozens of cruises together and he was always amazed by how he felt on board. The shear power of the engines as the ship started to move. No sounds coming from them just the sound of water moving as the bow and stern thrusters moved the massive vessel from the dock. You could feel the power in your body. It was as though you were in some way attached to the deck. Your feet seeming to guide the behemoth as it started on its journey.Rhodes-Lindos 062

Only a short time ago he’d hugged his wife, daughter, son in law, and grand daughter as they bid him farewell in the comfort of the passenger lounge in the cruise terminal. There were a few tears but by and large there were smiles all around. Now, he stood on the main promenade and waved to his family. They waved back with great enthusiasm and yelled to wish him  a safe journey. He stayed there until they could no longer be seen.

It was now time to explore this magnificent vessel. He’d chosen this cruise line as they had sailed the sister ships of the line and loved the experience. However, this ship was entirely different. All the cabins were outside cabins and every cabin had a verandah. Each verandah was big enough for a lounge chair, a table and two other chairs. The decor of the ship was also entirely different. It was difficult to explain. It didn’t matter where you went, you felt at ease. No easy accomplishment on the part of the designer. There were no cold drafts from the air conditioning. The temperature was within a constant comfortable range.

Everyone on board was incredibly friendly. He knew the ships crew would be. They never forgot a face or a name and a smile was always present. As each of the crew saw him there was a hearty “Hello Mr. Jim!” followed by a smile. He had no idea how everyone knew his name but he took it as a good beginning. His fellow passengers were all smiling and excited as well.

The day was picture perfect. Bright sun, birds riding the wind created by the ship, the sound of the waves as they gently broke over the bow, the gentle hiss of the water as it made its way past the stern and a sea so clear you were certain you could see the bottom if you looked hard enough. He couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Dolphin and Bow Wave, 4/09

Dolphin and Bow Wave, 4/09 (Photo credit: OneEighteen)

He retreated to his cabin, went out on the verandah, sat on the chaise lounge, pulled out a book and began reading. He must have lost track of the time. His cabin steward, who told him that dinner would be served in the main dining room in thirty minutes, interrupted his reading enjoyment.  No need to dress up on this cruise line.

He made his way down to the dining room and was greeted by the maitre’d. He didn’t have to give them his table number. They knew it. He preferred to dine alone and had a beautifully placed table at the stern, which allowed an unobstructed view of the ship’s wake as the water closed behind them. He was surprised to see many of his favourite dishes on the menu. He made his choices, sat back, and waited for the repast to arrive. It was the best meal he had eaten in a very long time. He must remember not to voice that opinion to his beloved. She was a very good cook.

Now sated, he made a tour of the upper deck while enjoying the fresh evening breeze. He walked the track several times and then decided it was time to make an early trip to bed.

His cabin was already prepared for his arrival. Fresh flowers adorned the table, the bed was turned down, the ubiquitous chocolates were on his pillow, and the cabin was already the perfect temperature for sleeping. After enjoying a nearly perfect day, that is with the exception of leaving his family who understood, he lay his head down on the pillow and smiled a wide smile. So he slept.

The woman hugged her mother and wept softly into her shoulder. Her mother stroked her hair and said it was OK as her own tears trickled slowly down her cheeks. Lying on the bed before them was the man she had fallen in love with over fifty years ago and who, until recently, had been the strong one in the family. Now, his body spent, he was gone.  She knew not where but she found it interesting that he had left this world with what appeared to be a smile on his face.

9 comments on “The Journey – A Short Story

  1. cin_patrick@epcor.com
    March 25, 2014

    Nelson, I am so pleased to pass this writing on…so fantastic that others get thought out of it. …as they should! You inspire me. LOVE! Cinnie

  2. Ashley
    March 13, 2014

    Nelson,

    I work for a school district and I’d like to speak with you about incorporating this short story into our curriculum. Do you have an email address that I could contact you at?

    Thanks!!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      March 13, 2014

      I would be pleased to discuss this with you. I hope it’s an example of good short story writing and not a bad one! :) I will send you an email directly and answer any questions you may have at that time.

      Nelson

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      March 13, 2014

      P.S. Please check your email spam/junk in case my email reply from “theoldsage” didn’t get to your inbox.

  3. Robin
    January 28, 2013

    Wonderfully told/written! (And what a great way to go!)

    • One Old Sage
      January 28, 2013

      Thanks for the positive comments. I appreciate it. I love cruising and it seemed to fit nicely. :)

  4. Diane Henders
    January 27, 2013

    I love it! Still smiling… :-)

    • One Old Sage
      January 27, 2013

      I’m pleased that you loved it! Also that you are still smiling. Always a good thing. :)

      If you have a chance, I’d appreciate your opinion on the three part story that I did in September called Addy’s Hill.

      I’m seriously considering doing a book of short stories. I wrote a novel that I’m currently editing but I think I have more of a knack for short stories.

      Thanks again.
      Nelson

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© Nelson Armstrong, OneOldSage.com and Old Sage Publishing Co., 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nelson Armstrong, OneOldSage.com and Old Sage Publishing Co. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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