Tuesday, August 21, 2012
My Barrel of Merils
Sheer luck placed us on the same weird boat during the same strange season, and I consider it my greatest piece of fortune of the whole summer.
Meril Clarke, you get your own post.
But I can't stay in my room alone all day, looking at myself in the mirror.
Out of the crew room, up the metal stairs, through the watertight doors locked in place by steel 'dogs' and up the steps to the lounge, my head down. The first person I see is the other blonde girl on the crew, her voice soft and lilting with a Louisiana drawl. I don't know her name yet. She sees my red face, messed up hair, expression. These are the first words she ever spoke to me:
"What? No! Oh honey, dry those cryin' eyes."
Since then, Meril has somehow has been my lucky charm, guardian of my sanity, this unflappable, unsinkable burst of joy who can communicate everything about how her day is going by a single eyebrow raise, the sharpest, the smartest, the most gorgeous girl sailing the sea right now. She's 27, the same age as me, yet somehow has about 100 seasons on boats behind her. She is overworked and underthanked, and in more than two months on the boat I have never shared so much one a minute of free time together.
And so our friendship is patched together by stolen moments, when we're both working. Whenever the boy sees us talking he scowls and assigns me some work up on another deck, intimidated, shaking in his shoes, by the strength and autonomy and irreverence that Meril and I find when we're around one another.
I'm on a very short vacation right now, and in a week I'll be back on the ship. I'll be happy enough to return, there is something very alluring about the weird life at sea, but it's not the sea that's calling, it's this letter I have from Meril that says "Linafish, when are you coming back to me?"