September 4th, 2021.
Today, I arrived at that boat we are taking in Greece, the Terpsithea. I was alone. And it felt wrong.
Under the surprisingly cloudy sky of Corfu, the line was spread across the airport floor for the antigen fast tests. Everyone not vaccinated is getting checked at their arrival. There was no one with me, my parents joining me later that day. There was just a huge gap by my side, that accompanied me as I waited for a taxi, for the boat papers to get ready, for the grocery delivery to arrive. I kept looking at the tidy interior of the boat and try to imagine you walking on its deck with me, entering the cabin, and finding a spacious quarter birth that would have welcomed our cuddles, kisses, and laughs. It was almost as if I felt your presence, and I pictured you in the red, flowery light dress you wore in Hawaii, two years ago now, as we walked the Sunset of Maui. I imagined your hat gently moved by the wind, your smile under your big glasses, and those lips I love to kiss, those eyes I love to meet. I tried to think of what you would have said, how you would have reacted, as the technician walked us through some of the particularities of the boat we got, as I cracked open a beer on the deck, and started writing this message, embracing time despite my reluctance, and trying to build something I sometimes lack – patience.
This trip, I wanted it to be something I did with you. A type of vacation that was part of my childhood and wanted to show you. I am betting on the fact that you would have liked it, like did many of my friends when, now four years ago, I took a 45-foot Dufour across the Egan sea with them. Somehow, I will always remember Jerome turning to me as we were lying on the beach facing the last bay we would anchor in, and say:
But you aren’t here, and it is nothing of your doing. I feel guilty of having abandoned you. I feel angry at this world were some richer countries still have privileges that are not justified in my views by the simple principle of nationality. And to be honest, I feel guilty of taking advantage of it – and leaving you behind.
When I booked this boat, it was a gamble. A gamble that you would be able to come. The safety net was that, if that did not work out, at least my parents would get some time with me. This time is precious, and I wanted it in a way. It will also be good for them – allowing my parents to take a boat in all confidence, as they haven’t done so in at least five years. But that bring me back to the biases of this world. The fact that I am able to travel, and you are not. That I can spend time with my parents, while it is not as easy for you. We need to do whatever we can such that the next trip we take, you are all reunited, and I can meet them.
If would allow me, let’s make sure the bound we have is written everywhere. In our hearts, first, of course, with a large and wide ink that will never fade. In the deed of the house that we will get. In the plants we grow, in the décor we put, the life choices we make. In our papers, too. Let’s make sure that no matter how unjust some of the world order can be, there is nothing that can be put between the two of us travelling together. That there is nothing that can be in front of us expanding the world we built in Seattle. That there is nothing that can block us from building a family. And that there is nothing that can be placed between the two of us aging in each other’s arms, until our life is full, well lived, consumed, and we are ready to go to explore whatever the next stage is – if there is one.