What to choose? Knob Creek? Asahi? Chunky Monkey? A brisk walk through the streets of Taura? Perhaps some Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams.

Eriko shared a Thai eggplant curry with me at lunch and told me you and Tom waved from the deck. Why do you always discourage me from coming down to the pier? Is it because you want your memory of me associated with home, with shared meals and shared drinks, and not the mechanical bulk of the ship?

I picked up Banana Yoshimoto’s “Moonlight Shadow” and I couldn’t stop before the scene on the bridge where the narrator sees a vision of her dead lover waving goodbye. Much like my mistake last year to watch Brokeback Mountain on the day the ship pulled out, I chose another brilliantly terrible story to make me feel your absence even more acutely. You’d think I’d learn and read something cheery—but what? No, I’d transform anything into soft disconsolate tears.

I’d be into Mister Roberts and lose it at “Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin’ palm tree overboard! Now what’s all this crud about no movie tonight?” Or it would be Bull Durham and I’d feel the dull pain of loneliness at “How come in former lifetimes everybody was someone famous? How come nobody ever says they were Joe Schmo?”

Look, I’ll toss you some Kipling if you swear not to mention that sucker Lucasta.

Heh! Walk her round. Heave, ah, heave her short again!
Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on the pawl.
Loose all sail, and brace your yards aback and full —
Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all!
Well, ah, fare you well; we can stay no more with you, my love —
Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say:
“You must take me while you may,
If you’d go to Mother Carey
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!),
Oh, we’re bound to Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!”

—First verse of “Anchor Song”

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