Today we said goodbye to a family that we have been traveling with since Mazatlan. In the cruising world this is called buddy boating. That term really falls short of the mark though. When you cruise intentionally like this with another boat, especially one with kids the same age as yours, your lives get subtly interwoven. You tend to eat together daily, errands and activities sync up and within a few weeks you feel almost as at home on their boat as on your own.
Kara and Ruby were delightful together. They seemed to bring out the best in each other even when they were worn out. Every morning Ruby would wake up (way too early) and start begging to call Taking Flight. When Kara finally popped up on deck, Ruby would hail and start making our plans for the day. “How about Kara comes over this afternoon, the adults can sit in the cockpit and we will let you talk.” …and they did. Both families were equally happy to have the pair because when they were together they were happy, and very very occupied.
So this morning when ‘Fight’ came over to drop Ruby off from their second consecutive sleepover, and say their goodbyes, Kara was (literally) shrouded in black. Her sweet head hung destitute over the gunwale of the dingy while Ruby cried her little heart out. It was heartbreaking, and even as I was witnessing her sorrow, I was so proud of the way she had handled it. She knew the goodbye was coming, knew it would hurt, but still gave her whole heart to the friendship right to the last minute.
Later in the day we received an email from Britannia. It was the first of what will likely become a series of “how and when are we going to meet up” exchanges. The contrast of the expectation of reunion and the disappointment of farewell was somehow deeply comforting to me. It seemed to reenforce the promise that in this round world, the only thing standing between a “goodbye” and “hello old friend” is a few more miles under the keel.