The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 89
They docked The Odyssey at North Haven around noon and ate. They walked slowly up and down the desolate main street of the small island fishermen’s village.
“This is the kind of place I’d like to live,” Rich said.
“Why?” Edna said.
“It’s comfortable,” Rich said. “It’s like old cloths; they fit without effort or a break in period.”
“That was Lubec,” Edna said. “I hated it when I was a kid, but I see myself going back there.”
“That’s nice,” Rich said.
“What about you,” Edna said, “don’t you see yourself going back to where you’re from?”
“It seems strange,” Rich said. “I don’t think I was ever from there. I always felt I was from someplace else, like here. I feel more at home away from home.”
“You know what I think, Rich,” Edna said.
“I want to know what you think,” Rich said. It’s important to me.”
“I think you didn’t have it all that bad,” Edna said. “It was just bad enough for you to want to leave. You have a wandering soul.”
“I hope not,” Rich said. “I want to settle.”
“You won’t settle until you find a Jenny Chandler,” Edna said and advised. “And settle for nothing less.”
“Let’s head back to the mainland,” Rich said.
“Are you okay?” Edna said.
“I’m good,” Rich said. “In fact what you said really helped me. Let’s get this boat turned around and I’ll tell you how you helped me.”
They readied the boat and shoved it away from the dock. Rich started the motor and putted away from the shore. The sails were hoisted. They crept through the narrows that led back to Penobscot Bay and tacked into the wind and open waters.
The breeze was cool and from the northeast. Edna prepared two cups of tea and came out to the companionway and sat next to Rich as he steered.
“Thanks,” Rich said taking the cup of tea from Edna.
“How long will it take us to get back?” Edna ask.
“We’ll be back before sundown,” Rich said.
“Now would be a good time to tell me what’s on your mind,” Edna said.
“There is a woman almost your age,” Rich said. “I think about her a lot.”
“Do you love her?” Edna said.
“I thought I was falling in love,” Rich said. “She’s married. Both she and her husband are as good of friends as you would ever want. I thought she was trying to seduce me. I felt it and it was as if I was being pulled closer and closer. It was nearly irresistible. I’ve never felt that sort of intensity before.”
“Do you still fill that way?” Edna said.
“No,” Rich said, “she’s gone, but sometimes I can’t get my mind off her. I even think of calling and telling her I’m on my way to meet her.”
“That’s dangerous, Rich,” Edna said.
“When you said I should look for a Jenny Chandler and settling for nothing less, it clicked,” Rich said.
“How do you mean?” Edna said.
“There will never be another first love,” Rich said, “never. You only have one. It’s a good love. It is pure and innocent. That’s the kind of love I’m looking for, not a first one, but a pure and innocent love. It won’t be seductive or forbidden. I kissed Jenny only once and right now that kiss is more meaningful, memorable, and potent than any rendezvous in a motel room or romp in the hay.”
Edna smiled. She reached and patted the hand Rich was steering with. “You remind me of a young man I knew in Lubec. I asked him to wait. And to tell the truth, I did not know what the wait was for. I lost him.”
“How?” Rich said.
“To a girl prettier and wiser than me,” Edna said.
“If he loved you he would have waited,” Rich said.
“That happens, I’m sure,” Edna said. “I thought only of myself; what I wanted to do and see. I knew I was going away and have other boyfriends and lovers.”
“Don’t you have any prospects?” Rich said.
“At this moment I want none,” Edna said.
“Edna,” Rich said, “this is one sad day on the water.” Then he laughed.
And so did Edna.
“You’re cold,” Rich said and slung his arm over Edna’s shoulder and pulled her close to him.
“Thank you, Rich,” Edna said.
The sun hung above the speckled trees of green, red, and yellow to the west as they approached the Rockland harbor.
“It’s one of those days you don’t want to end,” Edna said.
“I was thinking the same,” Rich said.
“Was there anything else on you mind?” Edna said.
“I’d like to confess something,” Rich said.
“What?” Edna said.
“You’re kind of like an older sister,” Rich said, “but holding you is… never mind.”
They secured the boat to the dock and parted with a handshake and a smile.
“Rich,” Edna called out after a few steps. They walked toward each other.
“Mrs. Gaffe,” Edna said, “what about Mrs. Gaffe? Was it a good visit?”
“Not really,” Rich said. “she just complained about how she was being treated. She’s tough nasty old bird. She cussed me out and said she hoped she’d live long enough to see me buried.”
“Pretty much what you expected?” Edna said.
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I really don’t know what I was fretting about.”
“All that worry for nothing,” Edna said. “Have a nice night.”
“You too, Edna.”
Rich stayed and closed the boat. He did not like lying to Edna, but it was confidential information.
Rich drove back to his apartment and spent the evening reading and listening to Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra.
The next morning Rich was tired and stiff. He arrived at the office at 7:20 AM. He was the first in the newsroom. He sat at his desk and thought, “Journalism is full of secrets and unreported events. I’ll keep this one to myself. There may come a day that I will have to reveal it and Sam may never trust me again. This is one I have to live with. I can’t share it. Mrs. Gaffe trusted me. Trust, Sam has to trust me on this one.”
It was a good week. Rich’s conscience had cleared. Thoughts of Peggy were as far away as Ohio or beyond. There was not even an entertaining thought of her. Mrs. Gaffe is a story that will never be told Rich concluded. “Why does everything have to be told?” Rich thought. Whose lives would be enriched by knowing the contents of a safety deposit box. It would be nothing more than fuel for idle gossip at coffee shops, beauty salons and barbershops. Maybe it’s best left in the hands of people like Dave Smithson. And maybe it’s best left where it is so that people like Flipper and his family will be left in peace; he was a guy who hurt no one and only wanted a few extra bucks to make sure ends met. And two news guys who don’t have a responsibility in the world take it away from him. When I peddled to this place all I thought about was pumping gas.”
“If I don’t shake this before long, I’ll have to find something else to do. I wonder if the thugs in Boston are looking for help?”