I left to join the M/V Anastasis on October 2, 1998. I was 20 years old, and I was petrified.
The week before I left for the ship I went on a walk along those Eglon roads, those T-boned crossroads I grew up on. I walked to the beach. I always went to the beach, it’s where I found peace. That place I’d sit alone, throw rocks into the water, and LISTEN. And pray.
And I did.
And I also cried.
I cried out of fear.
When I was ready to leave, I started walking home…away from the beach, up the hill, on a roadway surrounded by sixty to seventy foot tall Douglas Firs, when Chuck came out of his driveway. I knew his driveway. Heidi was my childhood best friend, I rode bikes, walked and jogged too and from that driveway more times than I know how to count.
He approached me, “Is that Emma?” He said, walking down the hill.
He stood in front of me, he hugged me “Wow, you’ve grown up.” He said.
My jaw clenched, and my insides screamed.